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In 2022-2023, Burnet is facilitating PNG's second Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT-IT) course, with a cohort of nine senior healthcare professionals from six provinces. The course is implemented in partnership with the National Department of Health, University of PNG, and PNG Institute of Medical Research. 

SORT-IT seeks to make countries “data-rich, information-rich and action-rich” thereby contributing to improving health care delivery and outcomes. 

The objectives of SORT-IT are to support PNG and its institutions to: 

  • Conduct operational research around their own priorities
  • Build sustainable operational research capacity
  • Make evidence-informed decisions for improving program performance.


SORT-IT is a course conducted globally under the umbrella of the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization (WHO-TDR). The program has been successfully implemented globally in 93 countries, and in the Pacific region has been implemented by the Burnet Institute previously in PNG and Fiji. 

SORT-IT teaches senior staff in the PNG TB response the practical skills to undertake and publish operational research in accordance with their program priorities. The aim is to create an organisational culture of operational research informing policy and practice, and ultimately, develop adequate and sustainable operational research capacity.  

The first two in-person modules of SORT-IT were held in Port Moresby in November 2022. The first module, led by Prof Steve Graham, facilitated participants through the development of an operational research protocol and ethics submission. The second module, led by Dr Jane Greig, trained participants in effective data collection and analysis methods, with participants forming a plan for the data they capture during their research projects. 

The third and final module, focusing on data analysis and manuscript writing, will be held in July 2023, after which participants will submit their projects for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. 

A sample of participants’ SORT-IT projects includes: 

  • Determining the risk factors for pre-treatment and post-treatment LTFU in DR-TB cases older than 14 years registered in PMGH from 2014 to 2019
  • Tolerability of linezolid containing regimens for the treatment of patients with multidrug-resistant or rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis in Daru, Western Province
  • Frequency of TB-culture contamination and characteristics associated with contamination in all sputum samples cultured during a diagnostic clinical trial in Port Moresby
  • Treatment outcomes of tuberculosis patients attending three basic management units in Madang Province: A three-year retrospective study (2019- 2021)

Operational research about TB generates evidence which is used to strengthen TB services by informing policy and practice. Strengthening TB services in PNG has direct benefits for people affected by TB. 

Stevegraham 210X210

Professor Steve Graham

Contact Professor Steve Graham for more information about this project.



  • DFAT Indo Pacific Centre for Health Security via PRIME-TB

Partners +

  • National Department of Health PNG
  • University of PNG
  • PNG Institute of Medical Research


Meet the project team. Together, we are translating research into better health, for all.