Research is necessary to create a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms that cause the needs and (health) problems of individuals and communities living in fragile states and low income countries. Research in this context needs to be participative and action and solution oriented to produce the options for action and the evidence for specific interventions. The production of evidence is only the first step towards the application and implementation of sound health policies. Research within Health Works is also used to develop procedures to translate knowledge in activities that change health policies.
Evidence based interventions
Health Works defines the development and implementation of evidence-based interventions for public health in the realm of post-conflict and complex emergency situations as its core business. Implementing programmes and conducting research are therefore narrowly linked. The process is best described as a ‘cybernetic loop’ that integrates research outcomes as feedback into the programmes. Research is part of basically all Health Works activities, as research is implemented to prepare, support and evaluate interventions. Some research activities are a fully funded integral part of programme implementation. Other research is funded separately, and is done on the basis of monitoring and evaluation data by us or in collaboration with academic partners. Research is also undertaken as an individually funded activity or conducted by partners under the umbrella of Health Works or as a partner in a consortium of research groups and other organizations.
The main objective of research within Health Works is the focus on development of, and increasing effective interventions, knowledge and expertise. A second objective of research within Health Works is related to monitoring and evaluation of field activities. A consolidated monitoring and evaluation design is part of any proposal for a field activity. This allows implementing the data collection that is required to serve the ongoing project, enrich future project cycles, and add to research questions about improvement, quality control and efficiency of the intervention techniques. Last but not least, Health Works uses (publications of) research to promote its expertise and position in the field among other experts and professionals.