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Open Access The Ethiopian initiative to build sustainable capacity for operational research: overview and lessons learned

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Setting: Programme-based operational research is instrumental for the enhancement of tuberculosis (TB) control. In 2012, the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health launched an initiative for capacity building in operational research (OR).

Objective: To develop sustainable capacity for OR in Ethiopia in a multiyear initiative.

Design: The initiative was developed in collaboration with regional, national and international experts. Teams representing regions in Ethiopia conducted OR addressing national and regional priorities. To make use of local expertise and increase sustainability, a domestic mentor training programme was included. Existing capacity was enhanced through a competitive grant scheme providing TB researchers with financial and technical support. The Ethiopian Tuberculosis Research Advisory Committee was also supported in its functions. Regional ethics review bodies were strengthened or established where they did not exist.

Results: Fifty-two people were trained and conducted 13 OR projects, of which six have been published to date. In addition, eight protocols were supported through grants. Ethics review bodies were strengthened in all regions.

Conclusion: The initiative trained participants from all regions and succeeded in the completion of all stages of the OR process. The success of the programme can be attributed to the team approach, ‘learning while doing’, integrated mentorship programme and strong national ownership.
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Keywords: Africa; capacity building; implementation research; partnerships; training

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Hague, The Netherlands, Department of Global Health, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2: TB CARE I/KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 3: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France 4: Federal Ministry of Health, Addis Ababa 5: TB CARE I/KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Armauer Hansen Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Tuberculosis Research Advisory Committee, Federal Ministry of Health, Addis Ababa 6: KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Hague, The Netherlands 7: Independent consultant, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 8: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom 9: Armauer Hansen Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Tuberculosis Research Advisory Committee, Federal Ministry of Health, Addis Ababa

Publication date: 21 December 2014

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  • Public Health Action (PHA), The Union's quarterly open access on-line journal, provides a platform for its mission 'Health solutions for the poor'. PHA addresses the need for show-casing operational research that addresses issues in health systems and services. It publishes high-quality scientific research that provides new knowledge to improve access, equity, quality and efficiency of health systems and services.

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