Washington, D.C., 26 November 2014 (PAHO/WHO) — Eight research proposals that seek to improve health program implementation in countries of the Americas have been selected as grant winners by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR) of the World Health Organization (WHO).

This new initiative aims to strengthen implementation by embedding research within program processes.

The winning proposals were submitted by health program implementers in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, México and Peru. Each will receive a subsidy of up to USD$35,000 to finance implementation research activities over a year. Winners were selected from more than 234 applicants from 28 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

This year's call for proposals was directed to health program implementers such as managers and district health officers affiliated with Latin American and Caribbean public institutions. The winning proposals were chosen on the basis of scientific quality, feasibility, and relevance.

The proposal from Argentina, submitted by the Province of Santa Fe's programs on Child and Adolescent Health and Sexual and Reproductive Health, will examine regionalization strategies to improve maternal and child health in the Province of Santa Fe.

Two proposals from Brazil were selected: the first, submitted by the Municipality and Health Department of Goiania, State of Goiás, will study the barriers to the implementation of Brazil's Family Health Strategy. The second, submitted by the State of Ceará Secretariat of Health, will examine contextual factors that interfere with the implementation of management protocols for HIV and tuberculosis co-infection.

The proposal from Colombia, submitted by the Institute for Technological Evaluation in Health, will evaluate implementation tools to promote adoption of clinical practice guidelines for sexually transmitted infections.

Two proposals from Chile were selected. The first, presented by the Women's Health Program of the Health Department of San Miguel Commune in Santiago, will seek to identify barriers to and facilitators of contraceptive use among youths. The second, submitted by the Disease Prevention and Control Division of the Ministry of Health, will evaluate barriers to and facilitators of the implementation of evidence-informed recommendations.

The proposal from Mexico, submitted by the National Center for Technological Excellence in Health (Cenetec) and the Oaxaca State Health Services, will assess the implementation of an e-health program for pregnant women.

The proposal from Peru, from the Ministry of Health's HIV/sida and STI Strategy and Tuberculosis Strategy, will identify barriers to and facilitators of improvements to integrated care of patients with HIV/TB coinfections.

The PAHO—AHPSR grants program seeks to facilitate improvements in program implementation through "implementation research," which examines what, why, and how policies, programs and interventions work in "real world" settings and tests approaches to improve them. Implementation research is most likely to be useful when it is embedded within existing processes and when implementers such as program managers have taken part in the identification, design, and conduct of the research.
PAHO, founded in 1902, is the oldest international public health organization in the world. It works with its member countries to improve the health and the quality of life of the people of the Americas. It serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO and is part of the Inter-American system.

The Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research is an international collaboration hosted by the World Health Organization. Since its inception in 1999, the Alliance's goal has been to promote the generation and use of health policy and systems research (HPSR) as a means to improve the health systems of low- and middle-income countries.