2023–2024 Joint WHO Western Pacific Region/TDR Impact Grants for Implementation Research

World Health Organization

Relevent Country: Fiji

Type of work: Research and Survey

The WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WPRO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, and the WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) are pleased to announce the 2023–2024 Call for Applications for the Joint WPRO/TDR Impact grants for regional priorities focused on implementation research on communicable diseases.

TDR is a global programme of scientific collaboration that helps facilitate, support and influence efforts to combat diseases of poverty. It is co-sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO).

This call is a joint initiative between TDR and WPRO, who have a mutual interest in strengthening the capacity for health research in low- and middle-income countries. The call reflects a commitment to supporting implementation research to deliver high-quality and cost-efficient healthcare solutions to people in resource-poor settings.

Objectives

The objectives of the Impact Grants are to:

  • strengthen the research capacity of relevant individuals and institutions in countries;
  • generate new knowledge, solutions and implementation strategies that countries can apply for the control and elimination of infectious diseases; and
  • encourage intersectoral dialogue and implementation of the One Health approach.

Research Priorities:

  • This call aims to facilitate and strengthen public health-oriented implementation research focused on reaching unreached populations, primarily through integrated health service delivery in the Western Pacific Region. Implementation research activities supported by this call may be complementary to those supported by other stakeholders interested in these research areas.
  • The focus of this call is on the following priorities, with illustrative research areas below. Additionally, specific gaps in knowledge related to priority communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), malaria, dengue and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and their risk factors and exogenous factors are of interest in this call.
  • Promoting integrated service delivery
  • The Western Pacific Region is striving to move from the delivery of vertical disease-oriented programmes to integrated service delivery that is person-centred and more efficiently meets the needs of unreached populations. This call will therefore prioritize research that:
  • supports progressive transitioning from vertical to integrated delivery of services for addressing issues impacting under-served or unreached populations;
  • supports the uptake of lessons from vertical programmes that effectively reach unreached populations for strengthening the general health system and enabling communities and individuals;
  • supports the improvement of access, quality, financial protection, and patient satisfaction through the integrated health system approach; and
  • supports access to services by the last-mile communities and individuals across the continuum of care by strengthening community systems as part of PHC.
  • Promoting innovations and systems approach to reach the unreached
  • The Region’s populations do not have equitable access, quality and financial protection for essential health services. Many countries find it challenging to identify and cover people who are currently unreached, with integrated health services through a primary health care approach. Implementation research is needed to identify these populations and understand the factors responsible for these gaps and effective strategies to address them.
  • In this call, priority will be given to the proposals that support integrated delivery of health services through primary health care to unreached or under-served populations. For example, these may include:
  • enabling health systems and services to identify unreached groups and engage them in the development of service models that meet their needs;
  • innovative approaches to the collection, analysis and use of data for decision-making;
  • building and implementing models of care that reach unreached populations;
  • integration of vertical programmes into existing primary health care models;
  • engaging, enabling and empowering communities and individuals to contribute to ongoing service development and quality improvement;
  • and working across sectors to strengthen service delivery to unreached groups.

Promoting multisectorial and One Health approaches:

  • Research is needed to understand the lifestyle factors underlining the vulnerability to airborne, waterborne and vector-borne diseases as well as interplay between these disease outbreaks and climate or environmental changes in the Western Pacific Region. Implementation research on One Health approaches may consider changes in environmental, social, economic and climatic factors, and contribute to the development of community-based adaptation strategies and decision-support processes and tools for reducing population health vulnerabilities.

Funding Information

  • Funds: Up to US$ 15 000 per grant. Co-funding from domestic or other sources is encouraged.
  • Study duration: The maximum duration for the study is 12 months. The anticipated commencement of the research is early 2024, taking into account the time and procedures needed for selection, obtaining ethics clearance, and finalizing contracts. Nevertheless, this may be determined on a case-by-case basis. The research project must be finished by the end of 2024.

Eligibility Criteria

  • This call is for applications to conduct implementation research that will inform policy and public health practice for reaching the unreached, with a focus on communicable diseases. The call is open to principal investigators who are based in an institution located in low- and middle-income countries in the WHO Western Pacific Region including:
  • American Samoa, Cambodia, China, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Viet Nam.
  • TDR is committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity in science. Researchers are encouraged to apply irrespective of gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious, cultural and social backgrounds, or (dis)ability status.
  • In addition, the following criteria should be met:
  • Proposals may only be submitted in English, through the eTDR portal.
  • Research proposed must be conducted in the Western Pacific Region.
  • The Principal Investigator (PI) must be based in an institution located in a low- or middle- income Western Pacific country or territory, including national tropical/communicable disease control programmes, ministries of health, academic institutions, research institutes and nongovernmental organizations.
  • The research project must relate to the objective and scope described in the present call and include a strategy for engagement of key stakeholders in the research process.
  • Proposals submitted should include an acknowledgment letter signed by the manager of the programme area or the person in charge of the programme or institution related to the project at the appropriate level of the public healthcare services (e.g. primary health care unit, municipal secretary of health, state department of health, or national ministry or secretary of health). The acknowledgment letter does not mean there is a need for a clearance for the project, as no technical assessment is needed at this level.
  • Applicants must demonstrate past experience in operational and/or implementation research. This might include, but is not limited to, evidence of having been trained in operational /implementation research and being able to conduct research independently. Such training could include the TDR Implementation Research Toolkit, the MOOC (massive open online course) on implementation research, or another formal research training experience.
  • Applicants are encouraged to incorporate the hypothesis-driven problem-solving approach and consider other agile methods such as human-centred design thinking in developing their research proposal. These methods may be particularly useful in establishing a good problem definition and the research question to be answered.

Source: https://who.force.com/etdr/s/gs-solicitation/a0p3X00000ifm7uQAA/ca230018