Institutionalizing Community Health Conference - Implementation research

30 April, 2021

The Institutionalizing Community Health Conference (19-22 April), previously noted on HIFA, announces its 'go-to platform for the next four weeks to access all the recordings of plenaries, concurrent sessions, networking, the marketplace, and more'.


I have just viewed the concurrent session on Implementation Research.

Here are a few takeaways (with thanks to Dr. Robert Scherpbier, Senior Health Specialist, UNICEF)

Integrated Management of Childhood Illness has been implemented in >100 countries since 1995. A recent assessment of health workers' adherence to ICMI was conducted in 7 countries involving more than 15,000 children. Among infants with diarrhoea only 28% were treated correctly and 72% incorrectly (mostly failure to check for dehydration and/or failure to prescribe fluids), therefore increasing risk of death from dehydration.

[It was the avoidable death of a child from diarrhoea (due to the false belief that fluids should be withheld) that led me eventually to set up HIFA.]

Dr Scherpbier also spoke about 'Embedded implementation research' whereby the generation and use of research is led by decision makers. I would be interested to learn more about this.

He indicated that UNICEF has been engaged in IR since 2015. In 1/3 cases, the results made no difference/change, because of lack of political will, lack of follow up, or lack of finance. 50% of IR resulted in positive change in reported health outcomes. Work by TDR has shown that IR leads to important transferable skills that can be used after IR. In conclusion: Investing in IR has great benefits for MNCH.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,