Zone 5’s Paul Fahey was asked by the Open Society Foundations to lead a workshop in Kyrgyzstan on the topic of qualitative research for healthcare. Paul presented to the Public Health Discipline Group at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to coincide with World Health Day on April 7th. World Health Day is the recognized anniversary of the formation of the World Health Organization in 1948.
The Open Society Foundations (OSF) works globally to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights and public health, among other activities. OSF, through the Soros Foundation–Kyrgyzstan division, has emerged as a leader in promoting good governance and civic participation efforts in Kyrgyzstan. The foundation’s public health activities have included helping establish a harm reduction approach to drug use and HIV prevention, and initiating several successful outreach programs targeting populations at high risk of infection.
In support of OSF’s mission, Paul’s workshop was aimed at teaching healthcare researchers and policymakers how to conduct qualitative research to better understand consumer behaviors related to infectious diseases such as HepC and HIV. (Although we talked often about the new outbreak of H7N9 Bird Flu cases in China) Paul drew from his years of experience directing relevant research studies for clients such as the New York State Department of Health as well as dozens of hospitals and health systems. The two-day workshop included a combination of lectures and breakout sessions for hands-on learning. Participants in Paul’s workshop included representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia and Mongolia.
The first day of the workshop helped participants understand the benefits and pitfalls of focus groups and in-depth interviews while walking them through the steps involved in developing a study. The second day focused on the process of analyzing focus group data using systematic and verifiable methods essential when presenting a credible report or paper for peer review.
This was a unique and rewarding experience for us to share our expertise and help strengthen public health programs around the world. The feedback we received was excellent. So much, that we are eagerly awaiting word about the setting for next year’s conference (Astana, Kazakhstan perhaps?). Until then, Мы желаем вам хорошего здоровья.