Workshop participants agreed on five research areas within Bridging the Gaps

What motivates people to be engaged in treatment? And what are effective strategies to reach the hard to reach? These are two of the five research areas that were selected during the Bridging the Gaps workshop in Amsterdam, on 14 and 15 November 2012. The aim is to design an overall research plan.

Bridging the Gaps is one of the largest programmes that focus on improving the health and realising the rights of sex workers, people who use drugs, and LGBT people. Its scale and comprehensive approach ensure the provision of unique and vital information on the issues. In addition, operational research is needed to demonstrate the impact of the programme and the usefulness of specific interventions. And investigation results can also contribute to filling the knowledge gaps regarding key populations that are present in most countries in which the Bridging the Gaps programme runs.

To decide on the contours of the research, a two-day workshop took place, organised by the Bridging the Gaps alliance in close collaboration with the John Hopkins’ Center for Public Health and Human Rights and the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD). The thirty participants analysed, discussed, brainstormed, and agreed on an impact measurement system and the outlines of an operational research plan in the context of Bridging the Gaps. They composed a list of feasible impact indicators to measure the effects of the programme at country level and globally. To identify research topics that could be developed into a broad operational research, three questions were paramount: Is it relevant and does the research topic internally fit in Bridging the Gaps? Does it add anything to the knowledge base? Is research feasible in this area?

Eventually, the following five operational research areas, covering aspects of service delivery and advocacy, were selected:

  • Treatment cascading: What motivates people to be engaged in treatment?
  • Reaching the hard to reach: What are effective strategies to reach these populations?
  • Benchmarking, performance measurement and comparative cost-effective/value for money service delivery models.
  • Violence: What is the impact of violence on the safety and health of key populations?
  • The influence of changing policies: i.e. documenting how policies can positively or negatively change the lives of key populations (taking Vietnam and Ukraine as examples for case studies).

Based on these research areas, the programme’s monitoring and evaluation working group will draw up an overall research plan, including costs and locations for implementation.

Click here to read the report of the research workshop.

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