From the frontline: strengthening surveillance and response capacities of the rural workforce in the Asia-Pacific region. How can grass-roots implementation research help?

Larkins, Sarah, Carlisle, Karen, Harrington, Humpress, MacLaren, David, Lovo, Etivina, Harrington, Relmah, Alves, Lucendar, Rafai, Eric, Delai, Mere, and Whittaker, Maxine (2020) From the frontline: strengthening surveillance and response capacities of the rural workforce in the Asia-Pacific region. How can grass-roots implementation research help? Frontiers in Public Health, 8. 507.

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Abstract

Health systems in the Asia-Pacific region are poorly prepared for pandemic threats, particularly in rural/provincial areas. Yet future emerging infectious diseases are highly likely to emerge in these rural/provincial areas, due to high levels of contact between animals and humans (domestically and through agricultural activities), over-stretched and under-resourced health systems, notably within the health workforce, and a diverse array of socio-cultural determinants of health. In order to optimally implement health security measures at the frontline of health services where the people are served, it is vital to build capacity at the local district and facility level to adapt national and global guidelines to local contexts, including health systems, and community and socio-cultural realities. During 2017/18 James Cook University (JCU) facilitated an implementation research training program (funded by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) for rural/provincial and regional health and biosecurity workers and managers from Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. This training was designed so frontline health workers could learn research in their workplace, with no funding other than workplace resources, on topics relevant to health security in their local setting. The program, based upon the WHO-TDR Structured Operational Research and Training IniTiative (SORT-IT) consists of three blocks of teaching and a small, workplace-based research project. Over 50 projects by health workers including surveillance staff, laboratory managers, disease control officers, and border security staff included: analysis and mapping of surveillance data, infection control, IHR readiness, prevention/response and outbreak investigation. Policy briefs written by participants have informed local, provincial and national health managers, policymakers and development partners and provided on-the-ground recommendations for improved practice and training. These policy briefs reflected the socio-cultural, health system and disease-specific realities of each context. The information in the policy briefs can be used collectively to assess and strengthen health workforce capacity in rural/provincial areas. The capacity to use robust but simple research tools for formative and evaluative purposes provides sustainable capacity in the health system, particularly the rural health workforce. This capacity improves responses to infectious diseases threats and builds resilience into fragile health systems.

Item ID: 64383
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2296-2565
Keywords: surveillance and response, communicable disease, implementation research, training, capacity strengthening, disease outbreak, Asia Pacific
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2020 Larkins, Carlisle, Harrington, MacLaren, Lovo, Harrington,Fernandes Alves, Rafai, Delai and Whittaker. This is an open-access articledistributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided theoriginal author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the originalpublication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice.No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Funders: Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Projects and Grants: DFAT Center for Indo-Pacific Health Security grant: the Partners in Tropical Health Project and Complex Grant Agreement number 73050
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2020 00:42
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111711 Health Information Systems (incl Surveillance) @ 60%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111715 Pacific Peoples Health @ 20%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 80%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 20%
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