Penti Shihepo - NUST Student Research Symposium 2017 participant

Research topic: Assessing the level of adoption of quality improvement tools in selected public hospitals in Namibia.

You recently presented at the Student Research Symposium (SRS) 2017. Tell us more about your research and why you chose that topic. This presentation was part of my Master’s research work. The aim of the study was to assess whether public hospitals in Namibia are following the global trend of adopting Industrial engineering tools/techniques which improve healthcare process efficacy. I chose the topic because our public healthcare has been plagued by a public outcry of criticism in the social & print media, because of their perceived poor service delivery; I wanted to find out what is going on and what can be done to alleviate the prevailing issues. After determining what is affecting the quality of our public healthcare system, I then developed a conceptual framework (model) for adopting & maintaining quality improvement initiatives looking at healthcare delivery as a process, eliminating wastes, addressing bottlenecks and changing the hospital culture to one that embraces change towards continuous healthcare quality improvement and patient safety.

As a researcher what are your expectations after the symposium and how will you use the knowledge gained to address challenges regarding sustainability in our country? I expect NUST to establish an autonomous Research Centre where the research work of both faculty and students are readily available (downloadable online) so that we encourage students to publish their work on a website or similar platforms. This centre will also help to serve students with regard to their data analysis & interpretation. One of the major challenges with sustainability in our country is the disjoint between central government/public service and Universities. The current practice is to outsource research needs from outside Namibia and once the research is completed, there is no or little plan for continuous monitoring & improvement. This can easily be solved if Universities take a leading role in research rather than rely on foreign/private entities to conduct our research needs for us. In this light, the research that I conducted is requested by both NIP and MoHSS because it addressed a very important aspect of their service delivery. In my research, I further clarified how the model I developed (for healthcare quality improvement initiatives) can be effectively implemented sustainably.

How would you motivate NUST students to develop interest in research and research activities at NUST?Research is the 21st century’s driver of modern state of the art technology and innovation. We specifically are in an era where the energy & water demand are ever increasing with limited resources. We need young minds to find sustainable solutions to these pressing needs through evidence based, data driven research work. As NUST students, I urge them to aim to contribute to the national scientific body of knowledge and in the process acquiring relevant graduate employability skills.

What is your success quote!My favourite success quote is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”