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Implementation Research 2023 (AFR)

Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

About This Course

Welcome to this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Implementation Research developed by TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, hosted by the World Health Organization. There is significant research investment in the development of tools and interventions to tackle some of the major public health challenges, particularly in diseases of poverty. There are also funding schemes to address these great challenges of our time, through vaccine and drug development and other innovations that will tackle the causes of disease and ill health.

But an ongoing challenge, for which the current evidence base remains thin, is how to ensure that these solutions, tools, interventions, etc. get to the people who need them, and are used in a manner that results in the outcome for which they are intended. In the absence of effective implementation strategies, the usefulness of otherwise effective solutions is severely curtailed. And yet the importance of implementation research is often underestimated and it is not considered a core part of the research pipeline.

This MOOC provides an ideal opportunity for you to come to grips with implementation research with the expectation that by the end of the course you will be able to design your own implementation research projects, critically evaluate and use the evidence produced by other implementation research projects and commission robustly designed implementation research projects – all of this with the ultimate goal of enhancing the evidence base of effective ways to improve the health of the populations we serve.

What you'll learn

  • the core concepts of implementation research
  • how to identify the challenges of various contexts
  • how to assess the appropriateness of existing implementation strategies
  • how to develop innovative and more effective implementation stategies by working with communities and multiple stakeholders
  • how to formulate your implementation research question, to operationalize your variables and to design rigorous research projects
  • how to define your implementation research outcomes and evaluate the effectiveness of your implementation strategies
  • and finally how to plan the scale up of your intervention given a robust implementation strategy


A general knowledge of public issues in your country may be an advantage.

Course Staff

Pascale Allotey

Professor Pascale Allotey is the Director of the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) ( She has two decades of experience as a researcher in global health including multidisciplinary background, and experience working across four continents to promote health and well-being. Prior to joining UNU, Prof. Allotey served as Professor of Public Health and Deputy Head of School (Research and Development) at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University (Malaysia). She also was head of the Global Public Health unit and founding Associate Director of the South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO, Malaysia). Her previous experience includes Professor of Race, Diversity and Professional Practice, Brunel University (United Kingdom); Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow at the Key Centre for Women’s Health, WHO Collaborating Centre for Women’s Health, University of Melbourne (Australia); and Lecturer in the Tropical Health Program, Australian Centre for International and Tropic Disease and Nutrition, University of Queensland (Australia). She holds a PhD in Public Health and a MMedSci degree in Community Health from the University of Western Australia.

Uche Amazigo

Uche Amazigo is a professor and a retired Director of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (2005-2011). She holds a PhD from Vienna University (Austria) and was a Takemi Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health (USA). Professor Amazigo is a public health specialist and she has devoted most of her academic, public and international career to the control of neglected tropical diseases and community-led health and development programmes. Her pioneering discovery of the suffering, social isolation and disability caused by river blindness skin disease in Nigeria contributed to the creation of the World Health Organization African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (WHO/APOC) in 1995. She is also the Founder and CEO of Pan-African Community Initiative on Education and Health (PACIEH), an NGO coordinating community-managed school health and feeding programme to improve primary education in resource poor settings. She has over 60 publications in international peer-reviewed journals.

Jorge Arroz

Jorge Arroz is a malaria specialist and medical doctor with 11 years of medical and public health experience in Mozambique at the central and provincial levels, including over three years of malaria programme management. He has published on epidemiological research on malaria, HIV/AIDS and neglected tropical diseases, and completed the continuing education training course “Malaria Prevention and Control for Africa” in 2011. He is currently a PhD Candidate in International Health at the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal. He obtained an MPH from the Institute of Science and Technology of Mozambique (ISCTEM), Maputo, Mozambique, in 2013. He is currently the Malaria Project Senior Technical Manager for the Global Fund Malaria Control Programme and World Vision, Mozambique, Maputo, Mozambique. He oversees the implementation of malaria control activities in Gaza, Zambézia and Tete Provinces where he is managing LLIN (long lasting insecticidal net) distribution campaigns.

William Brieger

William “Bill” Brieger is a Certified Health Education Specialist and has a Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) in International Health from the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and a Masters in Public Health (MPH) in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is a Professor in both the Health Systems and the Social and Behavioral Interventions Programs of the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and also serves as Jhpiego’s Senior Malaria Specialist. Bill taught at the African Regional Health Education Center at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, from 1976 to 2002. He is internationally renowned for his expertise in the social and behavioral aspects of disease control and prevention, with special emphasis on formative research and behavior change programme design and evaluation. A particular focus has been on training peer educators, community volunteers and other community resource persons to take an active role in health education and health service delivery. Professor Brieger has published more than 160 scientific articles focusing on the social and cultural aspects of disease control, training of community health workers, health systems strengthening and community participation strategies.

Vivian Go

Dr. Vivian Go is an associate professor in the Department of Health Education at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Gillings School of Global Public Health. As a social epidemiologist, her research focuses on the design, implementation and evaluation of HIV interventions among marginalized populations in Asia. Vivian has worked for more than 15 years in Vietnam, where she has conducted a series of randomized controlled trials to assess the effectiveness of multi-level interventions to prevent HIV for people who inject drugs and to engage those who are HIV positive into the continuum of care. Her most recent interest is in the scale-up of evidence-based interventions into routine practice. Her team has established a permanent UNC office in Hanoi and two project offices in Thai Nguyen (40 miles north of Hanoi) staffed with nine full-time Vietnamese nationals who have been trained to conduct large research trials. UNC currently has active memorandums of understanding with the Hanoi School of Public Health and the Hanoi Medical School. Vietnam is a site for HPTN 074, “Integrated treatment and prevention for people who inject drugs: a vanguard study for a network-based randomized HIV prevention trial comparing an integrated intervention including supported antiretroviral therapy to the standard of care.” Dr. Go has involved many students and trainees in the studies in Vietnam, both to assist with ongoing studies and to conduct their own independent research.

Maria do Rosário Oliveira Martins

Maria do Rosário Oliveira Martins is Full Professor of Statistics and Deputy Director at the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal. She is the coordinator of the eLearning Master degree Programme in Statistics for Health. She has also been a member of the NOVA General Council since 2009 and member of the board of the PhD Program in Global Public Health. She is a member of the National Ethical Committee for Clinical Research (CEIC), member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) and WHO consultant for Health Information Systems (Health Observatory of the African Region). She coordinates the Lusophone Network for health professionals’ research financed by TDR. Maria do Rosário Oliveira Martins has been Pro-Rector of NOVA University of Lisbon, having implemented the NOVA eLearning Centre. She was Deputy Director of the Institute of Statistics and Management Information between 2000 and 2010, when she was also President of the Pedagogical Board. She is the author of four books and has published more than 50 papers in national and international scientific peer-reviewed journals.

Paul Milligan

Paul Milligan is an epidemiologist and biostatistician. He is Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics in the Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He teaches courses on epidemiology, biostatistics, and the design and analysis of intervention studies. His main research is on strategies to prevent malaria and to reduce malaria transmission in West Africa. He has been a member of the WHO Malaria Vaccine Advisory Committee and the technical group that advised WHO on the public health role of the RTSS malaria vaccine, and he currently coordinates evaluation of the scale-up of seasonal malaria chemoprevention in West and Central Africa.

Corinne Merle

Dr. Corinne Merle is a scientist in the Intervention and Implementation research unit at the Special Programme for research and training in tropical diseases (TDR), World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva (CH). Dr. Merle is a medical doctor from the Faculty of Medicine of Reims University (France) with a specialization in infectious diseases and in public health. She also holds a Master of Epidemiology and Statistics (Nancy, France) and a Master of Economics and Health Policy (Paris Sorbonne, France). She has been working in the field of infectious disease research for almost 20 years. She has been involved in various types of research conducted in different LMIC settings. She spent 10 years at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where her main research areas were mainly on Tuberculosis, HIV and Malaria. Since October 2014, she has joined the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) of the WHO were she has been focusing her research activities on implementation research related to interventions against infectious diseases of poverty.

Neal Alexander

Dr. Neal Alexander is based in Cali, Colombia, and works there at CIDEIM (Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Médicas), as well as being affiliated with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He previously lived and worked in London (UK), Kaduna (Nigeria) and Goroka (Papua New Guinea). His first degree is in mathematics and his PhD on the epidemiology of lymphatic filariasis. His current work is focused on the development of interventions against vector-borne and parasitic diseases, in particular insecticide-treated materials against arbovirus vectors, and new drugs and drug combinations against leishmaniasis.

Oladele Akogun

Oladele Akogun is a professor of public health parasitology at the Modibbo Adama (formerly Federal) University of Technology, Yola, Nigeria. He contributed to the pioneering work on the epidemiology of onchocerciasis in Northeastern Nigeria in 1988 and has since been a major player in subsequent intervention research, system and individual capacity enhancement to address the onchocerciasis problem using community participatory approaches. He was a consultant to WHO/TDR and to the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) leading several monitoring and evaluation teams in Africa. His main research interest focuses on increasing access of marginalized communities to health interventions, for which he is a recipient of several research grants including the Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges Exploration (GCE 2). He is a strong advocate of community participatory research and collaborative initiatives for addressing health problems. Professor Akogun has published more than 30 scientific articles in international peer-reviewed journals.

Olakunle Alonge

Dr. Olakunle Alonge is an Assistant Professor in the Health Systems Program, at the Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, USA. He received his MBBS degree from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and completed his MPH degree in Biostatistics/Epidemiology and PhD in Health Systems at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, USA. He has broad interests in design and evaluation of health systems strengthening strategies, child injuries and implementation research. His area of expertise is in implementation science method, systems science and approaches for causal inference in complex health systems evaluation. His current research is focused on defining outcomes of implementation research and use of system methods to improve design and evaluation of health systems in low- and middle-income countries.

Hans Remme

Dr. Hans Remme is an epidemiologist and biomathematician who has worked for over 35 years on research and control of tropical diseases, first in Africa at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and at the WHO’s Onchocerciasis Control Programme in West Africa and then with the WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR). His special interest is to use research to improve disease control. In TDR he was among other areas, coordinator of implementation research and manager of a research programme that produced the implementation research tools and strategies for the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC). Following his retirement from WHO, he has continued to work as a consultant on implementation research and onchocerciasis elimination.

Adanna Nwameme (Course manager)

Dr. Adanna Nwameme is a lecturer at the University of Ghana School of Public Health (UGSPH). She is a medical doctor with Masters and PhD degrees in Public Health. Strong considerations in her choice of research work include making innovative changes to existing practices especially in areas of Implementation Research, Gender and Health, Maternal Health and Ethics. Dr. Nwameme is involved in the development and implementation of different online training courses. Since October 2018, she has managed the IR MOOC sessions being run by the WHO/TDR assisted African Regional Training Centre (based in UGSPH) and currently oversees management of the MOOC sessions globally in all the WHO regions.

Devi Mohan (Forum moderator)

Dr. Devi Mohan is a Senior Lecturer in Global Public Health in Monash University Malaysia. She obtained her MD in Community Medicine from Kerala University of Health Sciences and MBBS from University of Kerala, India. She has worked extensively in the planning, development and implementation of various community based and health system projects. Her current research area is geriatric neuroepidemiology with focus on dementia and cognitive impairment. She is also actively involved as a research methodology trainer across medical and allied specialties, and also supervises higher degree graduate students in public health.

Daniel Reidpath (Forum moderator)

Professor Daniel Reidpath has been a Public Health academic since 1997, although his disciplinary background was originally in Computer Science and Psychology. He is currently Professor of Population Health and Head of Public Health at Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia. He is also the Director of the South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO), a Monash University Research Infrastructure Platform in Segamat, Johor, which tracks the health and wellbeing of 40,000 people. Prof Reidpath has published widely including peer reviewed articles, book chapters, a journal special issue, commissioned reviews, and editorials. He has also published across a wide range of areas including medical sociology, public health, epidemiology, and biostatistics. He supervised to graduation several PhD and numerous Masters students. He has held research funds from the Ford Foundation, the Global Forum for Health Research, TDR/WHO, VicHealth, the Royal Society of Public Health, and the Wellcome Trust, most recently as co-Investigator of a grant to look at strategies to improve health outcomes in urban informal settlemnts. He has also acted as a research consultant for WHO, UNICEF, and Family Health International. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal Society for Public Heath (HFRSPH).

Bella Ross (forum moderator)

Dr. Bella Ross is a lecturer with the Student Academic Support Unit at Monash University, Australia. Her current research interests include the use of educational technology in higher education, MOOCs, and education for health professional students. Bella’s teaching career has spanned over ten years and has included a range of language and academic subjects. She has extensive experience developing research projects and has reported on her findings at Australian and international conferences and in peer-reviewed journals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I attend the TDR MOOC on Implementation Research?

Attendance to the TDR MOOC on IR is by invitation only. Sessions of the MOOC will be in held in all the WHO regions. If you are interested in attending one of the sessions, you can contact the TDR Regional Training Centre in your region or send us a request at

Does the TDR MOOC on Implementation Research deliver a certificate or do I get academic credits?

If you complete the 5 modules and achieve a 70% of the final grade, you will receive a certificate of attendance signed by representatives from both WHO/TDR and the academic institution with which TDR has organized the particular session of the MOOC in your region or country. This MOOC does not deliver university credits.

Why should I take the TDR MOOC on Implementation Research?

If you are interested in implementation research, this MOOC is a good start. If you are planning to submit an implementation research proposal for funding by WHO/TDR, you will be asked to provide the certificate of attendance to this MOOC.

Is the TDR MOOC on Implementation Research free?

The MOOC is completely free and there is no fee to obtain the certificate of attendance. You can sign up for free or leave the MOOC at any time without penalty.

How long is the TDR MOOC on Implementation Research?

The TDR MOOC on Implementation Research will last approximately 5 weeks. Beginning on the course start dates, content will typically be released to participants in weekly “chunks.” Once content for the week is posted, participants can engage when they have time to do so. Content will not disappear once a week is over.

Is the TDR MOOC on Implementation Research taught live? Do I need to connect in at a specific time or can I participate

when convenient for me? The TDR MOOC on Implementation Research is not live-streamed. Participants do not need to log in at specific times of day to participate and watch the videos, which means that you can take a MOOC in a way that is convenient for you. However, we recommend that you keep up more or less with the weekly schedule.

If I miss a week, or have to go on vacation for a week, can I still watch the videos and participate?

Definitely yes. MOOCs are not like traditional classes, so although content is released on a weekly basis and certain courses may have assignments or activities, participants are welcome to participate at their own pace, in a way that works for their schedule. Once content is made available to participants, it will stay up while the course is running, so you can always “catch up” if you miss a day or a week. Many participants also take on the role of “listeners” — they watch videos and look at content, but may not participate in the assignments or discussion forums. We understand and appreciate that everyone will engage with the MOOC in a way that works for them.

How long does the TDR MOOC on Implementation Research stay open?

The TDR MOOC on Implementation Research will be open for approximately eight weeks. The course begins on the official start date listed on the course page. It is best to participate while the MOOC is ongoing, because you get the most engagement and interaction with the instructors and other participants.

Do I need to complete each week’s material before the following week begins?

Not always and it depends on what works for participants However, we recommend that you complete each week’s material before going to the next.

Are there tests, where and how do I take them? How can I find out the course schedule and how much work the MOOC will be?

Yes the TDR MOOC on Implementation Research includes 2 graded control quizzes, 2 control assignments and one final exam. Each assignment should not take you more than two hours to complete it. The final exam may take you longer as you will have to submit a short proposal on implementation research. This is why you can research your proposal for one more week after the course ends. You will find the control quiz or assignment at the end of each module.

How will my work be evaluated?

Your work will be evaluated through multiple choice tests and peer assessment.

What is peer assessment and how does it work?

Peer assessment involves students taking responsibility for assessing the work of their peers against set assessment criteria. After the deadline for submission of the various assignments, you will be asked to grade three assignments (Must grade) submitted by your peers before you receive the grade for your own assignment. The latter will be the average of two grades (Graded by) that your work has received. The deadline for grading your peers’ work must be respected if you want to obtain your own grade.

Can I download the content from the MOOCs so that I don’t have to go online?

To view the MOOC videos and participate in discussion forums you must be logged in and have Internet access.

Is the number of hours listed for the course the total number of hours I will spend on the MOOC or is that additional study time on top of watching the video material?

Most MOOCS are created with the idea that the avid MOOC participant will spend between 3-5 hours per week on the MOOC. That said, each MOOC is different and how much you read, watch, discuss, and engage is up to you and what you want to get from the MOOC experience. The best way to learn how much time each MOOC will take is to sign up for the MOOC.

How shall I enter the competition organized by TDR to win the funding of my research proposal on implementation research submitted for the final exam?

Once you have completed the final exam, you can enter your proposal into a competition by filling the Google Form provided and upload your proposal. If your proposal gets an “Excellent” or “Good” grade through peer assessment, it will be entered in the competition to win funding by TDR to a maximum of USD 15,000. Once a year, funding will be awarded to one proposal per WHO region.

What if I don’t get the award? What is in it for me?

All the “Excellent” to “Good” proposals that are entered in the competition will be uploaded to a Google map and your work will be given wide visibility since the map will be also available through the WHO/TDR website. This may be a good way to attract funding from donors and to highlight the research priorities in your country.

© WHO 2018
This e-learning training was developed by TDR in collaboration with WHO. The training is intended as a self-learning course on Implementation Research.

All reasonable precautions have been taken by WHO to verify the information contained in this e-learning. However, the e-learning is being distributed without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. The responsibility for the interpretation and use of the material lies with the reader. In no event shall WHO be liable for damages arising from its use.

The authors alone are responsible for the views expressed in this training package and they do not necessarily represent the decisions, policy or views of the World Health Organization.