Integrating capacity development during digital health research: a case study from global health

Adnan A. Hyder, Hannah Selig, Joseph Ali, Elizeus Rutebemberwa, Khaleda Islam, George Pariyo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative Research and Development Arm at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, has thus far collected NCD risk factor data from more than 13,000 citizens of three LMICs (Bangladesh, Tanzania and Uganda), and has actively worked to improve capacity with partners worldwide. Objective: This paper focuses on how a research project, can also act as a capacity building activity through its research into collecting non-communicable disease risk factor data using different mobile phone modalities. Methods: This paper evaluates the activities undertaken by the project using the ESSENCE Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for Research Capacity Strengthening. Results: The project was able to successfully integrate meaningful capacity development activities across all partners. Training, networking, sharing resources, joint data collection, and analysis across individual, organizational and project levels were some of the strategies used. The ESSENCE framework allowed a good assessment strategy for this type of work. Conclusions: This paper highlights the value of making capacity development a high priority for digital health research activities, while also considering the need to monitor and evaluate those activities in order for them to be meaningful and sustainable. It also considers how to utilize the ESSENCE Framework to evaluate capacity development activities through research, and how best to adapt the Framework to different programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1559268
JournalGlobal health action
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Digital health
  • LMICs
  • capacity development
  • mHealth
  • mobile phone
  • noncommunicable disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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