Improving Health by Improving Research

Faster and better research is critical to solving the world’s biggest health challenges. The Global Health Network enables researchers to work together across networks and between diseases, regions and organisations. Through these communities of practice research outputs are amplified and the process is made easier, faster and better. 

Working in the regions and through this platform research teams are provided with skills, knowledge, training, support and guidance to enable the capture of data to generate the evidence needed to change their patients lives.

The Global Health Network supports health professionals to lead research in the world’s most challenging settings and enables organizations to share best practice and know-how around the globe.

The Global Health Network enables health workers in the world’s most vulnerable regions to undertake health research to drive sustainable health improvements. This is achieved by delivering research capacity development and career support to research teams and frontline healthcare workers, no matter where they are or how resource-constrained their environment.

The aim result is faster, better, locally-led research that contributes to addressing the world's biggest health challenges.

The network is a combination of a thriving communities of practice alongside a comprehensive set of tools and resources to guide and teach researchers and equip them with all they need to run excellent studies. The research communities are networks or consortia who are using The Global Health Network to focus on a specific therapeutic area, type of research, or cross-cutting research support communities such as clinical trials, research review or bioethics. The Global Health Network transforms and amplifies their output by disseminating and raising the visibility of their work, alongside providing a highly functional working space that allows networks to truly collaborate.

The Global Health Network is providing the sophisticated technology and the tools for this to happen allowing researchers to work together online, and this is a place where researchers come to receive rigorous guidance and training that is written by experts. This facility also creates partnerships through novel applications, such as site-finder.org and provides resources and guidance to support every step. It is highly regarded as a neutral and independent space, which is uniquely applying cutting edge digital technology to enhance global health research. 

Since 2011, researchers, nurses, technicians and scientists working in low and middle income countries (LMICs) have accessed The Global Health Network over 11 million times, to share research methods, knowledge and processes, with many thousands of regular users. Over 400,000 online course modules have been taken, and there are 37 research groups sharing knowledge and expertise on this platform. The Global Health Network has grown into a renowned, valuable and trusted resource to those working in global health research. Impact evaluation is embedded and strong quantitative and qualitative data show how research teams are gaining from this and that their research is being made easier and better.

The Global Health Network was cited in the World Health Report (WHO 2013) (Research for universal health coverage) for the contribution this is bringing to research capacity development in LMICs by facilitating the sharing of templates, tools, protocols and allowing research staff to provide support and guidance to each other. The report concluded that if there is ever to be really dramatic improvements to the mortality that is caused by the world’s most burdensome diseases, than there is a drastic need for more evidence. The call is for more research and that low and middle-income countries need to be the generators and not the passive recipients of data and evidence. Here in lies the problem. There are still far too few locally-led research studies that are conceived, planned, led and operated by researchers from and in LMICs. There are compounding reasons for this, but the lack of access to support, training, tools and resources are important factors in this gap. Here is exactly where The Global Health Network is making a difference. By enabling research through sharing of knowledge, expertise and know-how, providing free certified high-quality training resources, and creating opportunities for collaboration among research groups. 

'Assessing skills, building careers and tracking progress and capacity development'

In collaboration with the WHO/TDR, The Global Health Network has implemented the TDR Global Competency Framework for Clinical Research. This tool works as a framework which lists all the competencies that should be demonstrated by a research team to carry out a successful study. 

The framework can be applied to any research study, regardless of the size of the team, place, disease focus and type of research. Together with its supporting tools, the framework can be used to plan staffing requirements for a study, to carry out appraisals of staff, to guide career development, and to create educational curricula for research staff.

The Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) and researchers from The Global Health Network led the development of this framework, to bridge the lack of information about clinical research roles, especially for those working in LMICs. It has been developed alongside experts and collaborators from around the world.

 

'The importance of research skills training'

This clip shows feedback from a local public health worker in Ethiopia after he attended one of The Global Health Network research skills workshops. In summary Abrahim explains that previously he thought that clinical trials were something people from overseas come and do, that they are expensive, and just about drugs and vaccines. See how his views have changed.

 

'Reverting knowledge gaps'

In this interview, Dr. Jackeline Alger highlights how The Global Health Network has contributed to revert knowledge gaps on health research in Honduras. 

 

Within The Global Health Network each member area has its own governance structure and a representative of each of these form the management group of The Global Health Network. Each member area has a coordinator and they have a coordinators forum where ideas and resources are shared.

The Global Health Network also has a steering committee to ensure that the aims and objectives are being met. This committee is comprised of Trudie Lang (University of Oxford) Kevin Marsh (KEMRI-Wellcome Programme, Kenya) Rosanna Peeling (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), David Lalloo (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine), Tumani Corrah (MRC The Gambia), Patricia J Garcia (Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia Peru) and Arthur Thomas (Oxford Internet Institute).