Planning of Training Program on Operational and Health Services Research in Mali
This planning grant will develop a training program on operational and health services research, and support efforts of the Department of Public Health of the University of Bamako, Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry to expand course offerings in public health. The training program to be developed will train doctoral, masters and non-degree students. Dissertation research as part of the doctoral training will examine technical and operational research questions in the context of the on-going implementation of malaria programs. For Master students, we foresee sandwich degree training, in which students are initially enrolled in the Department of Public Health at the University of Bamako, then take courses at the Bloomberg School of Public Health for one or more terms, then return to conduct field research for their masters theses in collaboration with an on-going malaria prevention and control program. Training for non-degree students will be offered through courses held either in Bamako, or at a field site used for malaria research. The planning process for the training grant will address three questions: 1) What types of operational and health services research would most directly improve the effectiveness of malaria prevention and control programs funded by the Presidential Malaria Initiative; 2) who should be targeted for different kinds of training (doctoral students, masters students, program managers, government officials etc.) and what knowledge and skills would each group most benefit from; and 3) how should a training program be organized to transfer these knowledge and skills. The planning process will be organized in 5 steps: 1) Planning meetings in Baltimore where the Malian investigators will meet with groups at Johns Hopkins University engaged in malaria research and programs in Mali and elsewhere in Africa; 2) Initial information gathering and needs assessment in Baltimore and Mali; 3) Interviews with health officials and malaria researchers in Mali; 4) Planning meeting in Mali that will include the dissemination of the needs assessment followed by detailed planning of the training grant activities; 5) Grant preparation. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Lack of sound operational research to accompany past efforts to implement large-scale malaria control programs has been cited as one reason for their ultimate failure. Mali is particularly in need of such a training program because it is a challenging environment for implementation of malaria interventions (low population densities, low literacy), and there are few researchers trained in operational research in Mali.