45th Union World Lung Conference. Day 2. Operational research skills building workshop

Operational research skills building workshop

The workshop was led by the prominent specialists in this field, Dr. Rony Zachariah MD, PhD, Director of MSF Operational Centre in Brussels, prof. Anthony David Harries, Senior Advisor at the Union and Director of the Department of Research, which includes the Center for Operational Research (COR), Health Policy Unit and Clinical Trials Unit, and Hans L Rieder, MD, MPH, who  the Union adviser on tuberculosis training for managers in national tuberculosis programmes and courses in research capacity strengthening. Young researchers were also invited to present their experience in data collection, entry, and analysis, and also in preparing scientific paper.

Dr. Zachariah called his introductory presentation “Operational Research: What? Why? How?” Here are the answers, which he formulated:

What is operational research? It is a search for knowledge on interventions, strategies and tools,  that can enhance the quality, or coverage of health system and services, or the application of analytic models to help make better decision.

Why is operational research relevant? There three broad reasons:

  • Improve program outcome in relation to medical care and prevention;
  • Assess feasibility of new strategies and intervention in specific settings or populations;
  • ·Advocate for policy change.


1.      Direct programme relevance:

  • Research questions must be relevant to programme implementation and connected to health service delivery;
  • Coordination mechanism is needed to provide clear strategy about setting of research priorities.

2.      Partnership with the local programme:

  • Paradigm shift: a “partnership model” that promotes better involvement, co-ownership and responsibility of programme staff with researchers;;
  • Thus, build funding and resources for operational research into national programme

3.      Build research capacity within the research.

Dr. Harries presented SORT IT operational research course, which the Union have been holding since 2009. This is practically oriented three-weeks course, comprising development of the research protocol, data collection and analysis, and yielding in preparing of scientific paper for peer-reviewed journal under mentor’s supervision. To date the output of the course is the following: 89 percent of involved participants completed all the modules; 89 percent published paper within 18 months; 99 percent of researches were assessed for policy and practice. Dr. Harries invited all interested programme managers to apply for the course attendance.

Both speakers emphasized the idea which Dr.Frank Cobelens (KNCV) voiced at the 44th Union Conference: Operational research might be successful only if yielded not only into scientific paper, but also into programme improvement (https://stbcu.com.ua/en/2014/novi-metody/)

Dr.Rieder presented the free software EpiData for data entry and analysis, and invited researchers to download and study the programme opportunities in use, following the links:

http://www.tbrieder.org/ and  http://www.epidata.dk

The facilitators provided copies of their key publications on operational researchs, and also invited to look for more information at the MSF Scientific website http://fieldresearch.msf.org/msf/  The project shortly will upload the translated workshop material on its website.

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