Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Perspectives on Implementation Science Priorities
The 5th Rwanda Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in partnership with the East, Central and Southern Africa College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RSOG/ECSACOG) meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, was an opportunity to discuss implementation science (IS) with colleagues in the East, Central and Southern Africa region. The meeting brought together practitioners in the field of maternal, child, and newborn health (MNCH), most of them facing implementation challenges in sub-optimal health systems.
Fourteen out of 40 scientific presentations highlighted the challenges of implementing evidence-based interventions to improve health outcomes or efforts to overcome barriers through the use of implementation science (IS) methods. Throughout the meeting, common implementation challenges emerged from across the region and it became clear that better study of implementation could lead to a wider regional impact on improving health outcomes. However, many delegates were not aware of the potential of IS to address the operational challenges they face.
The team at Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) hosted a lunch session on Day Two of the meeting, which served to:
- Introduce delegates to the subject of IS, including background, value and definitions of IS, examples of IS questions and how IS methodologies can be applied to address them. The session also provided information on USAID’s HEARD Project and the aim to launch the Implementation Science Collaborative (ISC)—and how ECSACOG members are an important perspective in the growing consortium of global and regional partners who seek to contribute the acceleration of evidence into policy and practice in MNCH.
- Solicit feedback through a survey of the 113 participants of the session. Eighty percent of respondents believe that there are major gaps evidence gaps related to IS especially related to preeclampsia, adolescent health, and quality improvement. There was wide variation in response to a question identifying IS priorities, but some of the most commonly identified areas for near-term work include family planning and capacity building for health workers.
IDI’s participation at this meeting, as a representative of the HEARD Project, was an opportunity to invite ESCACOG members to have a stakeholder voice in determining IS priorities related to MNCH in the region.