Annual Research Methods Course in Sexual & Reproductive Health and HIV 
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The 2010 Sexual & Reproductive Health and HIV Research Methods Course will take place between 10th August 2010- 3rd September 2010

Specialised Intensive Postgraduate Training for Clinicians, Researchers and Professionals working in Sexual & Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS
2010 sees the 14th year of  The Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV Research Methods Course( RHRMC) which is organised by the Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit (RHRU), a research entity of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the University of the Witwatersrand and a designated World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre. Applicants are selected by the course Steering Committee constituted by the RHRU, the South African MRC and the Population Council. To date participants have been trained from nineteen African countries; Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Governments throughout the world have committed themselves to promoting sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights.  Nowhere is this agenda more critical than in Africa, where countries are faced with the multiple legacies of colonialism, gender inequity and under-development. The HIV epidemic now threatens to undermine many of the achievements of previous decades. Effective health sector responses must be scientifically grounded and appropriate to the continent; this requires the development of new generations of African health researchers. This course is an African response to the need to build research capacity in our region. It has been held annually since 1997 and over this time hundreds of researchers have been trained from almost 20 countries.  The course seeks to introduce researchers, health service managers and clinicians to the fundamentals of research methodology and key SRH/HIV issues relevant to the African region.

The course is intended for people who:
* Are currently involved in research, are planning to undertake research and/or are required to utilise research or monitoring data within programmes, particularly in the field of SRH/TB/HIV;
* Have a minimum standard of a degree in medicine/relevant honours degree;
* Are experienced and involved in SRH or HIV research or programmes.
The minimum qualification for acceptance onto the course is a medical degree or honours degree and substantive experience in the field of sexual and reproductive health and/or HIV/AIDS. Participants are chosen annually by a selection committee and the competitive standard is very high. A limited number of bursaries are available and restricted to African applicants. Certification is dependent on complete course attendance. The course includes pre and post tests for all major modules but has no formal examination. It attracts the maximum annual points for continuing professional development for South African doctors.

These must be accompanied by all the required documentation or will not go to selection
Applicants should complete the application forms and send them with essential documentation listed below by fax, post, or e-mail
• The course application form is available on line or from the coordinator. The last page must be completed by your employer
• A brief curriculum vitae
• A letter of motivation outlining your previous research experience, why you want to do the course and its relevance to your work
• Two letters of professional and personal reference
• Copies of qualifications
• Employer's signed letter of Permission for Study Leave (last page of application form)

The closing date for applications is Friday 5th March 2010

Application Form (2010 Methods Application Form.pdf)

* To strengthen the research capabilities of participants and through this to increase research capacity in the African Region;
* To provide skills in research methodology allowing participants to initiate research, participate in research and to critically appraise research findings;
* To familiarize participants with the major SRH/HIV issues affecting the African Region;
* To create a network of alumni to facilitate information exchange and research collaboration in the African region
The course and bursary funding for it is supported by the Belgian Government via Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), along with the Ford Foundation; Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, Wellcome Trust and the World Health Organisation.
Eminent international and local experts in reproductive health and research facilitate the course. It has been supported by the Department of Health and has had a very positive external evaluation funded by the Wellcome Trust.

The content covers a spectrum of related topics and areas in depth including an overview of reproductive health, qualitative and quantitative research methods, epidemiology, operations research, statistics, questionnaire design, epi-info statistical analysi package, proposal development, dissemination and utilization of research results, clinical audit, research ethics, costing interventions, and the role of research in policy. Specific issues in reproductive health are covered; Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV, Mother to Child Transmission of HIV, Gender Based Violence in health research and policy and the role of Research in Policy are also included as are site visits to ongoing research projects of related interest.
The course covers all stages of research including; translation of problems into study design and proposals, the translation of results into reports, development of policy, programmes and practice. The curriculum includes:

Quantitative research
The course provides an introduction to basic epidemiology. It explores different types of study design, their strengths and limitations, and how to choose the most appropriate design for the research question. It covers statistical issues in study design including sampling and sample size, as well as offering a practical approach to data handling, and basic data analysis and interpretation, with the use of Epi-info. The principles of questionnaire design, with reliability and validity are addressed. The course will also provide an introduction to demography including population characteristics, sources of data, and SRH indicators including maternal mortality and morbidity.

Qualitative Research
Methods of qualitative research are introduced, including interviewing techniques and participatory methods, study design and ethics in qualitative research. The appropriate use of qualitative or quantitative methodologies is examined. An experiential introduction to data handling, data analysis and writing is provided.

Operations Research/Applied Research
Methods used in health service evaluation are introduced including clinical audit, access to care, quality of care, efficiency, equity, costing studies, information systems and using research to improve services. The course will also cover linkages between research and the policy process.

Research Ethics
The principles of ethics are addressed, including study design in vulnerable communities, consent, and information to study participants, HIV/AIDS research, special situations and submitting a proposal to a research ethics committee.

Other course components include:-
* Critically reviewing literature and other sources of information;
* Proposal development and managing a research project;
* Report writing and dissemination of research findings;
* Use of computers in research, including the internet and power point;
* Site visits to research sites and other innovative SRH/HIV intervention programmes;
* A group work project.

The venue is acentrally situated hotel in a central suburb of Johannesburg, Rosebank, convenient to bookshops and other stores, cafes, etc.

The course will be full time Monday to Friday for four weeks, 8.00 -18.00. Attendance of all sessions is compulsory. A detailed agenda will be provided. There will be tea breaks and lunch between sessions. Site visits will also form part of the course and evening/weekend reading is necessary for the course and the group work project.

Course evaluation is completed by participants in writing using questionnaires. There will also be a pre and post training assessment and sessional tests to assist in the quality improvement of the course.

Certificates of attendance will be issued to all course participants. For those who qualify for CPD points, the course is accredited with the annual maximum and RHRU liaises with the CPD office on your behalf to ensure points are processed.

2010 FEES
Has not been set.

The course fee includes all course materials which you will receive on arrival, lecturers and facilitators, certificate, lunch and other refreshments throughout the day and transport to and from practical visits. Fees are payable in advance and attendance on the course may not begin until fees are fully paid.

A limited number of bursaries are available by competitive selection and awarded by the committee.

For further enquiries, please email Manoj Chiba at [email protected] or Sandra McIntosh at [email protected]