Joint Operational Research & Knowledge Sharing and Regional Coordination and Program Management

The project finances relevant operational research which is related to activities supported under the project. The three main research priorities identified by countries relate to the need to:

(i) evaluate the effectiveness of the new TB related diagnostic technologies at the programmatic level,

(ii) assess drug resistance patterns for endemic diseases, and

(iii) ascertain the feasibility of using mobile phone technologies for weekly surveillance reporting of selected priority diseases. The evidence generated through this joint operational research will help inform public policy and the scale up of these interventions in the participating countries and in the region. As agreed during project preparation, Kenya would set up an operational research working group, and work closely with ECSA-HC. The project will fund:

(a) TA to support operational research;

(b) operating costs to organize workshops to share results; and

(c) training to boost capacities to conduct research.

A tentative list of criteria have been identified and include:

(i) relevance of proposal to activities supported under the project;

(ii) rigor of the methodology;

(iii) involvement of research groups from more than one participating country as a way to build regional capacity;

(iv) cost of proposal; and

(v)potential of research to inform public policy and practice.

  • Sharing & Regional Coordination:

ECSA-HC will play a coordinating and convening role and be responsible for the following activities at the regional level:
Convene Technical Experts and Policymakers:

The organization will support the country-led working groups by providing a forum for discussions and deliberations. The ECSA-HC Secretariat will facilitate the work of technical partners (e.g. CDC, WHO) which will assist in harmonizing laboratory operating procedures and quality assurance systems. ECSA-HC will use its existing mechanisms (e.g. conference of health ministers; advisory committee of permanent secretaries) to share results from the regional project, and advocate for policy change at both the technical and policy levels.

  • Facilitate Capacity Building and Training:

The ECSA-HC Secretariat will support countries to implement a regional study on human resources for laboratory services and one on public/private partnerships with a view to identifying options for enhancing the quality and efficiency of laboratory services, as described below; prepare policy briefs on HR issues; take stock of training institutions offering higher level training in laboratory services; and facilitate networking of laboratory managers by organizing bi-annual professional meetings.

  • Establish a Forum for Learning and Knowledge Sharing:

The organization will facilitate exchanges of experiences; document best practices in laboratory networking in the region; work with their health journalist network to report on achievements and lessons; establish a peer review mechanism for reviewing research findings; and drawing policy conclusions to be brought to the attention of policy makers; maintain a repository of information on activities supported under the project which can be shared regionally; and prepare a regional communications strategy for disseminating main findings from the project, documenting the state of laboratories (before/after), and informing the public on related public health issues.