Operational research: getting the word out to the counties

bioentrepreneurshipDevelopment of a local knowledge base is imperative for innovations in health service delivery that will spur efficiency, cost effectiveness and ultimately lead to quality service provision. By inculcating a culture of operational research, best practices in health service delivery can be identified, documented, disseminated and, ultimately, replicated.

Towards this end, the Centre for Health Solutions devoted a session in its annual stakeholders’ forum to operational research. The forum, dubbed the ‘annual CHS/MOH stakeholders’ meeting’, was held on November 11 – 12, 2013 and brought together county health management teams as well as hospital administrators from public health facilities in five counties – Nyeri, Murang’a, Nyandarua, Laikipia and Kiambu.


Though generally perceived as well endowed, these counties are grappling with below par health indices. For example, Kiambu, with 2,033 reported neonatal deaths in the period January – December 2012 (DHIS-MOH)) was ranked as the fourth-worst performing county in the country in terms of neonatal mortality rate. This despite the fact that at 77% skilled delivery coverage in 2012, Kiambu was ranked the best performing county in the country. Outcomes and discrepancies such as these merit further scientific scrutiny


Dr. Robert Karanja, PhD, took conference participants through a thought-provoking presentation on the process and other specifics of operational research and its application to everyday health problems. The talk was a follow up on a discussion I had with Dr. Karanja during module IA of the MBA-HCM class. Kudos to Dr. Karanja for selflessly giving his time and effort and to the Strathmore Business School for forstering a climate of professional interaction and networking among faculty and students.


by Symon Wambugu

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