by Gabriel Fitzpatrick, Tom Decroo, Bertrand Draguez et al.
Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 23, Nr. 7, July 2017
Operational research is defined as the search for knowledge on interventions, strategies, or tools that can enhance the quality, effectiveness, or coverage of programs in which the research is being done. During the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, operational research was integrated into the response of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to the emergency with the aim of controlling spread of the virus, improving patient outcomes, assessing the feasibility of new interventions, and advocating for policy change based on findings. Importantly, most operational research questions were decided by those in the field who had first-hand experience of the challenges encountered on a daily basis. This policy helped focus operational research to produce findings that were relevant to the emergency response.