Translational research in South Africa: evaluating implementation quality using a factorial design

11 Sep 2013

Background: HealthWise South Africa: Life Skills for Adolescents (HW) is an evidence- based substance use and sexual risk prevention program that emphasizes the positive use of leisure time. Since 2000, this program has evolved from pilot testing through an efficacy trial involving over 7,000 youth in the Cape Town area. Beginning in 2011, through 2015, we are undertaking a new study that expands HW to all schools in the Metro South Education District. Objective: This paper describes a research study designed in partnership with our South African collaborators that examines three factors hypothesized to affect the quality and fidelity of HW implementation: enhanced teacher training; teacher support, structure and supervision; and enhanced school environment. Methods: Teachers and students from 56 schools in the Cape Town area will participate in this study. Teacher observations are the primary means of collecting data on factors affecting implementation quality. These factors address the practical concerns of teachers and schools related to likelihood of use and cost-effectiveness, and are hypothesized to be "active ingredients" related to high-quality program implementation in real-world settings. An innovative factorial experimental design was chosen to enable estimation of the individual effect of each of the three factors. Results: Because this paper describes the conceptualization of our study, results are not yet available. Conclusions: The results of this study may have both substantive and methodological implications for advancing Type 2 translational research.