The second annual Thanzi la Onse International Project Workshop took place in early July 2020. Originally planned to be held in the UK as a face-to-face event, the workshop was fully re-designed as a four-day virtual workshop in response to COVID-19 social distancing rules and travel restrictions, to enable all activities to be held online.
Read more about our experience of redesigning the workshop as a virtual conference here.
Hosted over Zoom, the international workshop brought together programme partners from the UK and East and Southern Africa, policy-makers, Ministry of Health representatives and researchers; providing a key opportunity to strengthen relationships, reflect on programme impact and achievements to date, and collectively agreed the key priorities and focus areas for the remaining programme time.
The workshop opened with a series of presentations on the achievements and activities completed over the past 12 months by TLO’s three research themes: Epidemiological Modelling, Health Economics and Politics, Governance & Ethics. Presentations also included a summary of the main Theme-specific research priorities and targets to take forward in 2020 and 2021, including plans to finalise the TLO Model Framework and disseminate research findings to help inform regional resource allocation decision-making. Through these presentations, all programme partners began to identify a number of research synergies between the three Themes and, as a result, time was set-aside in later sessions to continue the discussions and agree which collaborative opportunities would be explored further in the next phase of the programme.
During day two of the workshop, representatives from the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC), the Health Economics & Policy Unit (College of Medicine, Malawi) and Makerere University School of Public Health (Uganda) were invited to participate as panellists, to reflect on capability building activities to date and share regional perspectives on priorities for the remaining programme time. Initial ideas were highlighted, including: developing more training opportunities and stand-alone short courses for health economists, researchers, modellers and policy-makers in Malawi and East Africa; building online platforms for health economics training and engagement activities; identifying synergies and opportunities for Malawi and Uganda teams to learn from each other through HEPU activities and the development of forthcoming Health Economics MSc programmes; and continuing to map-out future ECSA-HC Community of Practice and policy-engagement activities.
The final two days of the workshop provided an opportunity for the Thanzi Executive Group to gather, reflect upon the future synergies identified in previous sessions and begin to shape and define the objectives for the remaining programme time. As well as offering a further opportunity to discuss national, regional and international research priorities raised earlier in the workshop, these sessions also enabled participants to consider ways in which these future activities could inform new medium and long-term collaborative work streams and help to sustain partnerships beyond the original programme time frame.
- Collaborate on design and launch of health economics MSc in College of Medicine (Malawi) and Makerere School of Public Health (Uganda)
- ECSA-HC COP health economics workshops and short courses
- Utilising the TLO model to expand the modelling network and capability in Malawi; work towards establishing a platform for Malawian experts to implement, expand and refine the TLO model
- Raise awareness and demand for TLO model in Malawi and Uganda among policy-makers and technical specialists
- Support the establishment of Health Economics & Policy Units in Uganda and others in the ECSA region
- Disseminate the TLO research-with-policy partnership model
Interdisciplinarity and equitable partnerships
- Convene a workshop to explore interdisciplinary opportunities and ideas
- Explore how models such as the TLO model can be used to guide national health policy
- Consider the aims and governance of TLO “Phase 2”
By: Steph Richards, Alex Rollinger, Soraya Rusmaully | July 2020