Lucie Byrne-Davis & Jo Hart of the Division of Medical Education, University of Manchester and Dr David Musoke of Makerere University School of Public Health, Uganda held a global knowledge exchange event in January at the University of Rwanda in Kigali.
Byrne-Davis & Hart lead a project called The Change Exchange (www.mcrimpsci.org) which recruits and supports volunteer behavioural scientists to work with health partnerships between UK and low and middle income country (LMIC) health organisations (http://www.thet.org/our-work/what-we-do). During this project, they realised that making contact with researchers of provider behaviour in LMIC was difficult. “Although we knew that lots of provider behaviour work was happening, this work was not represented on the internet or in many of the journals we read”, said Dr Hart. Discussions with Dr Musoke revealed that many LMIC researchers also found it hard to make connections with others. Byrne-Davis, Hart & Musoke applied to the Tropical Health and Education Trust (funders of The Change Exchange) for a knowledge exchange grant to bring together researchers working on provider behaviour.
Kigali was suggested as an excellent city for a meeting and The University of Rwanda were very supportive. A competitive abstract review resulted in seven bursaries for researchers based in LMIC to attend and present their work. In total, researchers came from four continents, and nine countries (Burkina Faso, India, Malawi, Nepal, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa UK, USA). An innovative ‘open space’ format (http://openspaceworld.org/wp2/) meant that researchers could discuss the issues most important to them and time was spent reflecting on how to develop and maintain a community of researchers working on a range of projects with provider behaviour at their centre. Since the event, the researchers have continued to communicate regularly through a whatsapp group and have furthered plans about how to develop, conduct and disseminate high quality work on provider behaviour to have maximum impact on policy and practice.
Participants of the event at the University of Rwanda.