PhD Public Defence for Mr. Ongaya Kizito
Date: 7th July 2022 at 10.00am Kampala time
Thesis title: A Spatio_Temporal Model for Emerging Disease Surveillance: A Case Study of Nodding Syndrome
Programme: Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems
Supervisors: Dr. Benedict Oyo and Dr. Emily Bagarukayo
ABSTRACT: Spatial-temporal modelling and surveillance of nodding syndrome is constrained by lack of properly established aetiological (cause) factor as well as limited environmental knowledge influencing its emergence. An illness that has eluded surveillance models in Africa for over six decades, since its identification in the 1960s in South Sudan and Southern Tanzania. This research proposed a spatialtemporal model for supporting surveillance and understanding of patterns of emerging disease [nodding syndrome]. The research adopted positivist philosophical assumptions with deductive research approach because of its emphasis on the search for human casual relationships and a belief in empirical data. Design science method was preferred because of its rigour by using existing knowledge to inform current research, relevance in solving real-world problems and flexibility along both qualitative and quantitative continuum. The patterns showed seasonality, clusters, spatial-temporal patterns in both sides of Achwa River (East and West), with more villages in East Achwa River Basin affected. There is a strong scaffolding spatial-temporal relationship of nodding syndrome incidences with occurrence of epilepsy. There is a relationship found to be critical in the surveillance process. This relationship is linked with abundance of blackfly (simulium damnosium) and therefore, being influenced by climatic and environmental factors in the ecology. The research concludes by empirically proposing a surveillance process that emphasizes how data that supports surveillance of an emerging disease with unknown cause can be arrived at using nodding syndrome case.