Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office Special Grant for Research in Priority Areas of Public Health

Silvia Weninger

1) Objective

WHO’s Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is pleased to announce the eleventh call for research proposals under the grant for Research in Priority Areas of Public Health 2020–2021. The aim of the grant is to promote health research as a tool for national development programming, and to increase the use of evidence-based action and health planning for provision of equitable health care. This round of calls includes a special call for COVID-19 research in response to the current pandemic. The priority areas for COVID-19 proposals include:

  • Epidemiology and surveillance
    – Epidemiology (incidence, mortality rates, etc.) of COVID-19 associated with NCDs, mental health and neurological and substance use and NCD risk factors in countries of the Region.
    – Identification and handling high-risk groups in populations of the Region.
    – Role of wild-life, domestic and companion animals in transmission of COVID-19 to humans.
    – Can COVID-19 be transmitted in indoor non health care settings environments?
  • Community engagement, infection prevention and control
    – Role of risk communication and community engagement in responding to COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures in reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health care in the context of COVID-19.
    – How efficient is the disinfection of streets and open spaces?
  • Health systems and services
    – Comparing essential/basic health services (both quantity and quality) during the COVID-19 pandemic against needs provided to populations in fragile, conflict-affected and violent settings.
    – Acceptability and effectiveness of remote delivery of mental health and neurological and substance use disorders services.
    – Health system strengthening for better response and improved preparedness in the context of COVID-19.
    – Models of care and services (re)organization to ensure continuity of services (e.g. maternal and child, NCDs, immunizations, etc.) during emergencies, including outbreaks and pandemics.
  • Disaster preparedness and response (updated 27 April 2020)
    – Transmission risks and patterns of COVID-19 in quarantine centres in countries of the Region.
    – Effectiveness of contact tracing models in countries of the Region.
    – Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on countries with protracted emergencies.
    – Assessment of effectiveness of EWARN system in detecting and responding to COVID-19.
    – Performance of point of entry surveillance systems in detecting COVID-19.
    – Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices study on acceptance and adherence to non-pharmaceutical public health interventions for COVID-19 containment, prevention and control.

2) Eligibility

Individuals and institutions engaged in EMR health research are considered eligible for submitting proposals which include: (1) Ministries, academic institutions, research institutes in EMR countries; and (2) Non-governmental organizations: professional societies and civil service organizations involved in EMR health research activities.

3) Location

Actions must take place in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

4) Budget

Only high quality proposals with a national / regional perspective will be funded with a research grant ranging from $10,000 – 15,000 for each selected proposal (expect for COVID-19 related research which could range from $10,000 – 30,000, as relevant to the topic and justified in the proposal).

5) Application

The completed proposal with its annexes should be submitted through email (emrgorpd(a)who.int) including the following: (1) Completed proposal form; (2) Data collection form(s); (3) Completed ethics review checklist; (4) Informed consent forms (in English and local language); and (5) Support documents (provisional national/institutional ethical approval; short CVs of investigators). The application deadline is 1 June 2020.