Operational Research courses in Africa strengthen health systems through capacity building

The Union’s Centre for Operational Research recently ran two SORT IT courses in Kenya and Uganda to equip public health professionals and healthcare providers with the skills necessary to conduct and implement operational research techniques to strengthen the health systems in their respective countries.

In Nairobi, Kenya, the Centre for Operational Research, in collaboration with Médecins Sans Frontières, ran the seventh iteration of the SORT IT course for participants working and living in African countries. Participants were mentored to develop operational research protocols on tuberculosis (TB), HIV and sexual violence, among other topics. The course also provided hands-on training in data capture methods and analysis using EpiData software. Participants have now returned to their institutions where they will begin data collection. They will be invited back for the next module, which mentors them through the writing and submission processes, with the ultimate goal of publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

In Bwindi, Uganda, The Union ran the first Bwindi SORT IT course in collaboration with the Bwindi Community Hospital. Four healthcare professionals from the hospital were mentored through the process of drafting manuscripts on operational research topics including maternal and child health, healthcare waste management and alcohol use disorder. Participants will submit their papers to peer-reviewed publications by the end of March 2018.

The SORT IT programme – Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative – was created through a collaboration between The Union, Médicins Sans Frontières and the World Health Organization Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, Geneva. The overarching goal of SORT IT is to improve healthcare delivery and public health through operational research. The Union also has a global operational research fellowship programme which nurtures and trains promising individuals in implementing relevant operational research, so that in turn they become inspiring implementers, leaders and teachers in operational research.  An operational research alumni network has been set up to foster research dissemination among research alumni.

Find out more about The Union’s Centre for Operational Research and its offerings here.