Health systems/implementation research

Introduction

Improved understanding of social issues improves public health, health care delivery, and the design and uptake of new interventions and tools – whether by health and science professionals (e.g. use of a new diagnostic method) or by the community (e.g. use of bednets).

The social sciences applied to public health include a number of sub disciplines such as health economics, medical sociology, medical anthropology, social epidemiology and health geography. Gender has particular significance as a social issue with potential impact on health – society assigns different roles to men and women and, as a result, transmission dynamics of infectious diseases may disproportionately affect women or men, or lead to differential impact of disease according to gender.

TDR related research

TDR supports research on this topic. Our work is being conducted in the following areas:

TDR and health systems/implementation research

TDR has a strong history of implementation research. During the 1980s and 1990s, some of TDR’s most significant breakthroughs emerged from applied field research initiatives. These included community-directed treatment for onchocerciasis; the introduction of insecticide-treated bednets; the development of unit-dose packaging (blister packs) for the easy use of antimalarials at home; and field testing of new artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs).

Through our work we have learned that new products and tools are not enough; we need to understand how they work and are used in real field conditions; this is the value of implementation research, which is connected to health systems research.

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