The first ever Global Conference on Implementation Science (GCIS) was held at the Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel, Dhaka, Bangladesh from June 29-July 1, 2019. GCIS 2019 was co-hosted by the Centre of Excellence for Science of Implementation and Scale - up (CoE-SISU), BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health at Brac University (BRAC JPGSPH); and UNICEF Bangladesh; and co-sponsored by TDR, Geneva. The three-day conference was observed successfully by bringing 250 participants from 30 countries including Researchers, Implementers, International Donor and Partner organizations working with Bangladesh-based NGOs and Government officials on a single platform.
“This is the era of implementation science and the conference here today is so very timely!! We not only want to show case the role of implementation research but also keen to enable a global knowledge sharing platform”. - Professor Malabika Sarker
Professor Malabika Sarker, Associate Dean; Director of Research and Director, CoE-SISU, BRAC JPGSPH was the organizer of the global event and the conference was Co-Chaired by Dr Juanita Vasquez Escallon, Evaluation Specialist, UNICEF, Bangladesh. The conference aimed to create a global platform with the participation of specialists and implementers from leading organizations to understand and share their experiences on implementation science and research in scaling-up and sustaining social sector programmes in a given national context.
“Where decision makers and researchers are linked, overcoming gaps between the world of evidence generation and the world of policy implementation becomes easier based on anenhanced sense of mutual trust among them andownership and buy-in of the results.”
- Tomoo Hozum
The Conference began with a welcome address by Vincent Chang, Vice-Chancellor, Brac University, Mr Tomoo Hozumi, Country Representative UNICEF, Bangladesh; Mr Syed Monjurul Islam, Deputy Executive Director, icddr,b; and Professor Sabina Faiz Rashid, Dean, BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health. In her welcome speech, Professor Sabina Faiz Rashid gave emphasis on working together across disciplines with the same goal and passion in public health to help the vulnerable community.
Opening speeches were given by Dr Shamsul Alam, Member, General Economics Division, Ministry of Planning, Government of Bangladesh (GoB); Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, the Director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR); and Dr Md Nazmul Islam, Line Director, Medical Education and Health Manpower Development, Directorate General of Health Services.
Various Plenary Sessions took place on important topics related to research capacity on implementation science for achieving the SDGs and universal health care targets. The importance of applying mixed methods in research and a tailor-made approach to adapt the comprehensive framework for implementation research as per national and local context were discussed. The important role of TDR in capacity development and the development of an ethical framework for conducting implementation research and scaling up NCD interventions were also highlighted. Fifteen Parallel Sessions were organized over the course of the conference on topics ranging from strengthening IR capacity in the TDR supported postgraduate schemes, IR in response to the malnutrition challenge in Bangladesh and involving multi-sectoral collaboration.
The closing session was participated by Professor Kaosar Afsana, BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health, Mr Samuel Bickel, Regional Evaluation Advisor, UNICEF ROSA; Olakunle Alonge, Assistant Professor, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Sally Theobald, Professor, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; Dr Till Barnighausen; Dr Md Rizwanul Karim, Program Manager, Non-communicable Disease Control Program, Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Bangladesh.
The Conference formally came to an end with the closing remarks of Professor Malabika Sarker, Chair of GCIS Organizing Committee and Director, CoE-SISU, BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health. This included a vote of thanks to all the participants for their excellent contribution in the plenary and parallel session which she said had deeply enriched the knowledge on the subject of implementation science. She acknowledged the hard work undertaken by members of the BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health and UNICEF Bangladesh in making this event a success.