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Free Content Building leadership capacity and future leaders in operational research in low-income countries: why and how?

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Very limited operational research (OR) emerges from programme settings in low-income countries where the greatest burden of disease lies. The price paid for this void includes a lack of understanding of how health systems are actually functioning, not knowing what works and what does not, and an inability to propose adapted and innovative solutions to programme problems. We use the National Tuberculosis Control Programme as an example to advocate for strong programme-level leadership to steer OR and build viable relationships between programme managers, researchers and policy makers. We highlight the need to create a stimulating environment for conducting OR and identify some of the main practical challenges and enabling factors at programme level. We focus on the important role of an OR focal point within programmes and practical approaches to training that can deliver timely and quantifiable outputs. Finally, we emphasise the need to measure successful OR leadership development at programme level and we propose parameters by which this can be assessed. This paper 1) provides reasons why programmes should take the lead in coordinating and directing OR, 2) identifies the practical challenges and enabling factors for implementing, managing and sustaining OR and 3) proposes parameters for measuring successful leadership capacity development in OR.
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Keywords: CAPACITY BUILDING; LEADERSHIP; LOW-INCOME COUNTRIES; OPERATIONAL RESEARCH

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Medical Department, Médecins Sans Frontières, Operational Centre Brussels, MSF-Luxembourg, Luxembourg 2: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, South East Asia Office, New Delhi, India 3: Ministry of Health, Nairobi; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya 4: United Nations Children's Emergency Fund, New York, New York, USA 5: Médecins Sans Frontières, International Offi ce, Geneva, Switzerland 6: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France; London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK

Publication date: November 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • 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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