Within the framework of the Tropical Diseases Research postgraduate training program scheme (TDR), Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) Alumna Saha Nasri participated in the “International Conference of Implementation and Scale-up", co-hosted by the Centre of Excellence for Science of Implementation and Scale-up (CoE-SISU), BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University and UNICEF Bangladesh, in Dhaka.
The conference aimed to showcase the role of Implementation Research (IR) in promoting a culture of evidence-based health and other social development programmes, policies and practices, as well as to create demand for the key implementers and policy makers towards mainstreaming IR in order to bridge the gap between research and policy making.
During her presentation at the conference, Saha discussed TB in Afghanistan, elaborating on the findings of her research about assessing the implementation efficiency of an action plan conducted in Afghanistan in 2017 to fight the disease. Saha highlighted the gaps in the action plan, while suggesting a set of recommendations to scale up interventions in this field, and increase outreach.
Among her main recommendations, Saha confirmed the need for further quantitative and qualitative research to investigate the factors and barriers that contribute to TB case detection. Additionally, TB awareness campaigns should be designed based on a solid theoretical framework. Sara also recommended enhancing the documentation of all activities of the campaigns, preparing a written action plan for the awareness program implementers, and stressed the significance of involving women facilitators for TB awareness campaigns, especially for female target groups.
After her graduation from FHS in the American University in Beirut (AUB), Saha is now a technical advisor in The World Health Organization (WHO) Office in Afghanistan.
“I think FHS exists for all of us in the region, not only for AUB or Lebanon," said Saha. “FHS cares about the health of all people in the region and promote health care, directly or indirectly through its alumina. Now, as a MPH graduate working in health sector in my country (Afghanistan), I better understand the high quality of education system at FHS. In fact, by applying the gained knowledge and skills, graduates (alumina) get enable to improve the health status of people in their surroundings, she concluded.
TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, is a global programme of scientific collaboration that helps facilitate, support and influence efforts to combat diseases of poverty. It is hosted at the World Health Organization (WHO), and is sponsored by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and WHO.
AUB is one of seven universities TDR partners with to strengthen research capacity of scientists in low- and middle-income countries burdened with infectious disease of poverty. The American University of Beirut is particularly appealing for candidates coming from countries like Afghanistan, given that public health is taught in a context where conflict and forced migration are pervasive.