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Policy Buddies: baseline assessment of the institutional capacity for evidence informed decisions in provincial health departments in South Africa

Date and Location




Friday 20 September 2013 - 13:30 - 15:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Celeste Naude

Contact person

Celeste Naude
Abstract text
Background Robust evidence helps policy-makers shape effective and efficient health services, including what services to provide, how to deliver them, and how to shape the service. Helping policymakers understand what research can help with, and helping researchers understand what might be useful to policy makers, is central to effective research-user dialogue. We report on the initial analysis from the Policy BUDDIES – Building Demand for evidence in Decision making through Interaction and Enhancing Skills of policymakers funded by the World Health Organization. Aim To understand policymakers’ capacity, as well as enablers and constraints related to demanding evidence during policy formulation and implementation, and map existing communication between policymakers, research intermediaries and researchers. Methods We carried out key informant interviews of managers of health programmes related to delivery of Millennium Development Goals 4 (reducing child mortality), 5 (improving maternal health) and 6 (combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases). We recorded, transcribed and analysed the interviews formally, using framework analysis. Results We will present the provincial policymakers’ priorities, and their knowledge and attitude to evidence informed decision-making. This will include an assessment of the contexts in which policies are formulated, enabling and constraining factors related to demanding evidence; roles, skills, and resources that provincial policymakers’ have towards evidence-informed decision-making; and priority areas for research and policy-making in provincial health departments; existing links between decision-makers, research intermediaries and researchers for obtaining research evidence; and policymakers’ opinions on existing knowledge translation tools. Conclusion A thorough understanding of how policy process operates and policymaker priorities is essential to effective evidence to policy and practice, and these data will help effective dialogue between researchers, people engaged in systematic reviews and those responsible for making decisions in the health services. It will also help inform question formulation and prioritisation to inform policymaking.