Adapting operational research training to the Rwandan context: the Intermediate Operational Research Training programme
Amoroso, Cheryl L.
Hedt-Gauthier, Bethany L.
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CitationOdhiambo, Jackline, Cheryl L. Amoroso, Peter Barebwanuwe, Christine Warugaba, and Bethany L. Hedt-Gauthier. 2017. “Adapting operational research training to the Rwandan context: the Intermediate Operational Research Training programme.” Global Health Action 10 (1): 1386930. doi:10.1080/16549716.2017.1386930. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/16549716.2017.1386930.
AbstractABSTRACT Background:: Promoting national health research agendas in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) requires adequate numbers of individuals with skills to initiate and conduct research. Recently, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have joined research capacity building efforts to increase research leadership by LMIC nationals. Partners In Health, an international NGO operating in Rwanda, implemented its first Intermediate Operational Research Training (IORT) course to cultivate Rwandan research talent and generate evidence to improve health care delivery. Objective:: This paper describes the implementation of IORT to share experiences with other organizations interested in developing similar training programmes. Methods:: The Intermediate Operational Research Training utilized a deliverable-driven training model, using learning-by-doing pedagogy with intensive hands-on mentorship to build research skills from protocol development to scientific publication. The course had short (two-day) but frequent training sessions (seven sessions over eight months). Trainees were clinical and programme staff working at the district level who were paired to jointly lead a research project. Results:: Of 10 trainees admitted to the course from a pool of 24 applicants, nine trainees completed the course with five research projects published in peer-reviewed journals. Strengths of the course included supportive national and institutional research capacity guidelines, building from a successful training model, and trainee commitment. Challenges included delays in ethical review, high mentorship workload of up to 250 hours of practicum mentorship, lack of access to literature in subscription journals and high costs of open access publication. Conclusions:: The IORT course was an effective way to support the district-based government and NGO staff in gaining research skills, as well as answering research questions relevant to health service delivery at district hospitals. Other NGOs should build on successful programmes while adapting course elements to address context-specific challenges. Mentorship for LMIC trainees is critical for effectiveness of research capacity building initiatives.
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