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Free Content Operational research for improved tuberculosis control: the scope, the needs and the way forward [State of the art series. Operational research. Number 1 in the series]

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The promotion of research is one of the main components of the World Health Organizations Stop TB Strategy, which includes ‘programme-based operational research (OR)’ and ‘research on introducing new tools into practice’. The importance of OR in improving tuberculosis (TB) control was recognised a long time ago, and historical OR studies have been instrumental in the development of major strategies for TB control. Although a growing number of OR projects are being conducted in the world today, little is known about their results or their likely impact on TB control programmes. As funding organisations increasingly recognise the need for OR, we propose a rational framework to conduct OR, which covers a spectrum from local setting-oriented to international policy guiding research, and determines the relevance, replicability and generalisability of the results. OR in TB control is aimed at 1) improving programme performance; 2) assessing the feasibility, effectiveness and impact of new strategies or interventions on TB control; and 3) collecting evidence to guide policy recommendations on specific interventions. This requires strengthened capacity to plan and conduct OR in low-income countries and appropriate support to conduct both nationally and internationally led OR projects. Suggestions are made for potential steps for improved purpose-driven OR, which may help to improve TB control locally and inform policy recommendations internationally.
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Keywords: capacity building; implementation; operational research

Document Type: Invited Paper

Affiliations: 1: Stop TB Partnership & Stop TB Department, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland 2: Centre for Poverty-Related Communicable Diseases, Amsterdam Institute of Global Health and Development, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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