Update on the planning of PEPFAR-supported Public Health Evaluation (PHE) studies

The purpose of this message is to update host countries and other PEPFAR partners on the process for planning Public Health Evaluation (PHE) studies in FY 2009. PHE refers to studies that guide PEPFAR partner country program and policy development, inform PEPFAR agencies and the global community, and identify areas where further evaluation and research may be needed. These activities answer key questions, providing information and building knowledge applicable across the range of PEPFAR-funded sites, and assess the impact of PEPFAR programs on the population being served by prevention, care, or treatment programs. As PEPFAR implements scientific advances on a large-scale through its programs, PHE assesses the effectiveness and impact of PEPFAR programs; compares evidence-based program models in complex health, social and economic contexts; and addresses operational questions related to program implementation within existing and developing health systems infrastructures. PHE utilizes rigorous, scientifically sound research methodology of varying complexity, and may include (but is not limited to) control groups, randomization, modeling or advanced statistical techniques. PHE does not extend to basic or investigational clinical research activities. PHE should prioritize local investigator leadership, participation and capacity-building and should reflect the priorities of host country governments. Ultimately, the information and experience gathered as a result of a PHE study should be used to improve future program implementation.

The FY09 process for PHE development and submission is now underway and a limited amount of funding will be made available each fiscal year. Proposals may be initiated by in-country US Government staff, host government partners, or by non-governmental and university-based investigators. However, all proposals must be submitted via the USG PEPFAR teams in the country where the work will be done. For studies involving multiple countries, all country teams who may be involved will be required to submit the proposal to confirm their agreement to participate. Final submission date for PHE proposals for FY09 projects is September 12, 2008, so those considering proposing or collaborating with PHE activities should contact their country team now.

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