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Open Access Building the capacity of public health programmes to become data rich, information rich and action rich

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Good quality, timely data are the cornerstone of health systems, but in many countries these data are not used for evidence-informed decision making and/or for improving public health. The SORT IT (Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative) model has, over 8 years, trained health workers in low- and middle-income countries to use data to answer important public health questions by taking research projects through to completion and publication in national or international journals. The D2P (data to policy) training initiative is relatively new, and it teaches health workers how to apply ‘decision analysis’ and develop policy briefs for policy makers: this includes description of a problem and the available evidence, quantitative comparisons of policy options that take into account predicted health and economic impacts, and political and feasibility assessments. Policies adopted from evidence-based information generated through the SORT IT and D2P approaches can be evaluated to assess their impact, and the cycle repeated to identify and resolve new public health problems. Ministries of Health could benefit from this twin-training approach to make themselves ‘data rich, information rich and action rich’, and thereby use routinely collected data in a synergistic manner to improve public health policy making and health care delivery.
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Keywords: D2P; SORT IT; data; operational research; policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), Paris, France, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK 2: Vital Strategies, New York, New York, USA 3: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), Paris, France, The Union South-East Asia Office, New Delhi, India 4: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), Paris, France, AIDS & TB Department, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe 5: Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Disease, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland 6: Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Disease, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, Operations Research Unit (LuxOR), Médecins sans Frontières, Luxembourg

Publication date: June 21, 2018

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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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