From November 15th to December 3rd 2021, seven research team members from Friedrich-Alexander-University (FAU) and the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health (HIGH) spent three highly productive weeks in Pakistan. The research team members of Khyber Medical University (KMU) were excellent hosts and, working together, the entire team made good progress on the research.
The stay started with an internal workshop of KMU, FAU, HIGH and I.C.U. Healthcare that allowed everyone to meet in person and discuss the current status of each research panel. The following days were used for refining the research tools and indicators used in the individual panels and for training the enumerators who conduct the interviews with the targeted population. Guest speakers, such as Irum Sheikh from the implementation partner m4h and Muhammad Arshad, CEO of the Federal Sehat Sahulat Program, provided valuable input to the discussion.
After five intense working days, the research team departed to Bhurban for the official stakeholder meeting and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). You can read more about this exciting event here. Meanwhile, the enumerators conducted the first pilot interviews. After the formal part of the stakeholder meeting, the research team took the opportunity to refresh their minds with a small hike in the Murree Hills and discover some of the beautiful Pakistani landscape to round off this eventful first week.
Upon return to Islamabad, the research team evaluated the data collected by the enumerators in the first pilot interviews. Being on site allowed the team to work together efficiently and to quickly adapt the tools as necessary. The enumerators were able to conduct a second round of pilot interviews and the interview strategy was refined even further. During the occasional night shift, the Pakistani Chai tea was most appreciated. The final days of the stay in Pakistan were spent developing a final sampling strategy as well as a tentative plan for all four waves of data collection.
Last but not least, the research trip to Pakistan benefitted the interpersonal dynamic of the whole research team tremendously. The hosts made sure to introduce the guests to Pakistan’s extraordinary cuisine, showed them around the city and shared interesting stories about everyday life. Through the intense collaboration, the challenges tackled together, and the common activities in the evenings, the group has bonded and come to appreciate each other even more. Overall, the trip was well-organized and fruitful and the FAU and HIGH delegation would like to genuinely thank all Pakistani colleagues who welcomed them so warmly and made the trip both a professional and personal success.