INGO “International HIV/AIDS and TB Institute” launches the new project initiative: “Let the Fresh Air In”: bringing UKMA Public Health Students into the National TB Response. This activity was made possible through support provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Strengthening Tuberculosis Control in Ukraine (STbCU) project.
The overarching goal of this project initiative is to improve policy-making and TB service delivery in Ukraine by conducting operational research (OR) in several selected primary health care facilities and TB ambulatory clinics in Kyiv city.
The OR will be focused on exploring existing education strategies available for TB patient and analyzing how these strategies address the patients’ needs and consequent treatment adherence. These results will be presented to the TB stakeholders at the National level in the form of specific recommendations on improving the patient education strategies in the process of service delivery.
The innovation part of this OR initiative is the simultaneous strengthening of the research capacities of the public health students and raising their professional interest to work in the TB field. This initiative is to try influence and counterbalance the “greying population” of TB workers in Ukraine. Currently, the average age of the TB health care worker is between 63 and 70 years old.
Bearing in mind that the societal problems associated with the TB control exceed borders of the health sector, this should be treated as a significant public health issue and re-inforce cooperation of stakeholders at the interdisciplinary level. Bringing young public health professionals into the TB field will provide for both intergenerational cooperation and a brooding of the knowledge base by a new generation of health professionals.
Therefore the project: “Let the fresh Air In” not only foresees the conducting of the OR itself, but also in close cooperation with the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, it will aim to provide mentorship and capacity development activities for the public health students to stimulate their interest to the field as well as give them knowledge and skills necessary for conducting the operational researches.
As such, the project will provide for a training course on TB and operational research strategies including approaches in developing methodology, conducting an interview, qualitative analysis of the research data etc. for public health students. As a result of the training and the process of the open competition, the group of the researchers from the public health students will be selected and involved in cooperation with INGO “IHATI” and TB facilities at the each stage of the OR – starting from data collection and proceeding to the development of the recommendations on improving the patient education strategies in the process of service delivery.
The author’s views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government.