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Open Access What happens after participants complete a Union-MSF structured operational research training course?

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Setting: Eight operational research (OR) courses run by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) for participants from low- and middle-income countries. There is a knowledge gap about whether participants continue OR after course completion.

Objectives: To determine 1) the research output of participants and their institutions after course completion; 2) the influence of OR fellowships on output; and 3) the output of non-OR fellows stratified by sex, region and staff position.

Design: A self-administered e-mail questionnaire survey.

Results: Of 83 participants who completed a course, 76 (92%) responded to the questionnaire. Following course completion, 47 (62%) participants completed new research projects, 38 (50%) published papers (vs. 25 [33%] who had published before the course), 42 (55%) presented posters or oral abstracts at conferences, 33 (43%) facilitated at further OR courses, 29 (38%) reviewed scientific papers, 25 (33%) secured further OR funding and 55 (72%) said their institutions were involved in OR implementation or capacity building. OR fellows performed better than non-OR fellows. Among the latter, males and participants from Asia had better output than females and participants from Africa (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: The significant proportion of participants continuing to engage in OR after course completion provides encouraging evidence of the long-term value of this capacity building model.
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Keywords: Médecins sans Frontières; SORT IT; The Union; operational research capacity building; post-course research output

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), Paris, France 2: Medical Department, Operational Centre Brussels, Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF-Luxembourg, Luxembourg 3: The Union, South-East Asia Regional Office, New Delhi, India 4: Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, Bute Medical School, University of St Andrews, Fife, Scotland 5: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), Paris, France, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK

Publication date: June 21, 2014

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  • Public Health Action (PHA), The Union's quarterly Open Access journal, welcomes the submission of articles on operational research. It publishes high-quality scientific research on health services, providing new knowledge on how to improve access, equity, quality and efficiency of health systems and services.

    The Editors will consider any manuscript reporting original research on quality improvements, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, training and capacity building, with a focus on all relevant areas of public health (e.g. infection control, nutrition, TB, HIV, vaccines, smoking, COVID-19, microbial resistance, outbreaks etc).

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