Dr. Tulinayo Fiona, Computer Science Engineer, is a beneficiary of the Sience by Women program. At Kronikgune her research focuses on the health area


18/10/2021

Dr. Tulinayo Fiona is a lecturer at the College of Computing and Information Science of Makerere University, Uganda. She received her PhD in Computer Science from Radboud University, Nijmegen in the Netherlands in 2014.

Her professional experiences have been applied to different domains including agriculture, health, education, environment and geography.

While researching at the Kronikgune Research Center, she plans to use her specific interest in information modeling to develop a decision support model for implementing Collaborative Knowledge Management (CKM) in healthcare. Her fellowship was sponsored by the Bizkaia Provincial Council.

What encouraged you to pursue a scientific career?

In high school, we were given an opportunity to study a number of subjects i.e. sciences, arts and religious studies. It is at this point that I realized I had a dislike for any subject that was wordy or required cramming. I preferred science s because they gave me room to quantitatively proof/validate my ideologies.

What made you incline towards your speciality?

It is the uncertainty and versatility. Information technology is a dynamic field that offers a range of solutions and support to varying disciplines. Thus, it avails an environment for me to think, be creative/innovative and develop novel ideas that may support the community or people.

Do you feel that being a woman has made it harder for you? In what way?

Yes, in the business/market place but not during my school days.

What is the research you are carrying out? How do you think your work can help your research area?

In general, my research looks at how systemic thinking can enhance understanding of and responsiveness to problems in healthcare. To be more specific, I work towards developing a systemic thinking framework that will guide decision making during the implementation of collaborative knowledge management in personalized integrated care to patients with chronic diseases.

What do you expect from your stay in Centro de Investigación Kronikgune?

I expect to gain a deeper understanding of the problem I am researching, the healthcare (system, knowledge flows, knowledge processes etc.) research collaborations and insights into healthcare decision making

What would be your advice to a girl who wants to pursue a career in STEM and more specifically in your specialty?
  • I would advise her to set her career goals early in life this will help her find a fitting discipline and benefit from early carrier guidance.
  • Secondly, she should avoid group decision making and engaging many less informed people in the career path she wants to take. This will affect her decision-making. As is said, “Too many cooks spoil the broth”.
  • I would advise her to align herself with successful people (not just in her disciple). They will mentor her and build her self-esteem. However, she should not allow herself to stay in their shadow too long else, she will drown under them.
  • Also start small, every block counts as long as it leads you to the right carrier path. Diversity is good, interact and expand your network as much as possible. Not all skills will be found in a classroom.
  • Learn to balance what you are good at, what you are interested in and what is trending. While at college, university or after school attend as many Information technology (IT)-related forums/workshops/symposium events as possible. This will introduce you to the IT-world and help you better focus yourself in the job market.
  • Finally, don´t allow your weakness or failures determine your worth. Every person has a weakness focus on the positives. There is always room for growth and improvement.

COVID19

How do you see the current coronavirus situation in general and especially in Africa and in your country?

In general

The covid-19 situation has both positives and negatives. I have found it to be an awaking for governments, families, organizations and individuals in various areas a) resource planning and management; decision making; travel (especially reducing the high international travel expenses to conferences, meetings, workshops etc.), investment, management etc. It has also brought key issues to the forefront i.e. what issues are pertinent (in health, education, governance, business etc.)  that should be dealt with at all levels (family, individual, government, institutional)

Africa is/was least affected by Covid-19. Minus Health, the effects of covid-19 are more evident in the education, transport, tourism and entertainment sectors (particular in Uganda). In these sectors, there has been financial losses to the government, business, organizations and citizens. This has led to parents losing jobs, brain rest (idleness) to learners and as a result, the girl child (especially in rural areas) is most affected. This has thus led to an increase in the number of school dropout, children giving birth as families cannot easily monitor movements of children or fully engage them while at home and peer pressure. The need to earn a living has also increased child labor. Such challenges and more if not addressed will exacerbate learning losses to a girl child. These effects may continue even after covid-19.

Covid-19 is less prevalent in Africa and my country due to some of the following reasons:

Humidity and Temperatures: Most African countries have wet and high temperatures yet, the virus favors cool and dry conditions.

Lifestyle: the life of an African is challenged with a cycle of illnesses. As a result, their resistance and immunity to diseases is high. May be, this is one of the reasons why Covid-19 was not severe in Africa.

Population: Africa´s population is predominantly young and their life expectancy is as low as 65 years. Putting the covid-19 statistics into context, majority of the severally affected persons were the elderly and these are few in Africa. Those that exist live in villages where contact with people is limited.

Prayers: Most African systems have failed their people. So, most Africans believe in God more than their systems. Their relationship with God (Faith and belief) has had a lot to do with the few numbers.

In my country (being an African, most reasons stated for Africa apply to my country as well)

What are your forecasts?

My prediction is, Covid-19 is soon going to be a story of the past BUT will definitely work as ground for management of global challenges that will be faced in the near future.

Do you think the scientific community is being effective in dealing with this crisis?

Noting that humans are very dynamic and are a hard subject to deal with, I think the scientific community has handled the challenge the best way possible.

Has it been a challenge for them?

Yes, it has been a challenge and there has been several learning lessons e.g. how to handle persons in uncertainty; how to work under pressure/remotely; managing/working/living with technology etc.

Do you think there will be a before and aftermath as a result of the pandemic?

Yes, I believe Covid-19 is not here to stay. Life will go back to normal but the lessons learned are going to bring change to the way we live, work and interact. For those that focus on the positives, change with bring good and for those that are resistant to change, nothing will change. This applies to organizations, individuals, governments and families. For example, we have seen an improvement in the use of technologies to meet the human resource gaps (especially in service delivery).  Machines are bridging the human resource gap in service delivery and collaborative information technologies in the workspace. We have also experienced a travel ban to most countries and a lockdown, organizations and governments that depended on imported goods have improvised ways to survive and those that export have also devised creative ways to meet the needs of their clients (alternative ways to sale their goods). These creative ways have opened us to the future.

 

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