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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Linkages between evidence and policy: Research priorities for future health systems in low income countries

Shamsuzzoha B. Syed, MD, DPH, DFPH, Academic Year Resident, General Preventive Medicine Residency Program, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe St., Room WB602, Baltimore, MD 21209, 443 722 3324, ssyed@jhsph.edu and Adnan A. Hyder, MD, MPH, PhD, International Health, and Health Policy & Management, The Johns Hopkins University, 615 North Wolfe Street, Suite E-8132, Baltimore, MD 21205.

The interface between policymaking and research is fraught with complexity, uncertainty, and conflict, particularly in low and middle income countries. Recently, the linkages at this interface have received increasing attention in both published and unpublished literature. Synthesis of these findings may prove valuable for policymakers, researchers, and ‘knowledge brokers' in such settings. Perhaps even more importantly, such a review may identify knowledge gaps that highlight particular research priorities within the research to policy interface on future health systems in low and middle income countries.

Recognizing the non-linear nature of the research to policy interface, this paper reviews the literature and attempts to synthesize available answers to the following questions, focusing on low-income countries: 1. What key characteristics of health research facilitate incorporation into health policy? 2. What key characteristics of health policy facilitate successful implementation? 3. Cognizance of which critical development issues enhance the effectiveness of the research to policy interface when considering poor and other vulnerable subpopulations?

Five low-income countries, namely India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Uganda and one low middle income country, China, is used to further explore current research to policy interfaces, in terms of the key characteristics identified by the literature review. These six countries are used, as they are current partner countries in a research consortium that is examining how health systems in the future can be made to work for the poor. Available examples of good practice in the transfer of research to policy making in these countries are presented and opportunities for improvement are articulated. Common themes that emerge from such an analysis are highlighted.

Calls for detailed research and exploration of the research to policy interface in low-income countries have been made in the literature. The key aim of this paper is to identify a potential starting point and articulate priority areas for such research on the interface between research and policy on future health systems in low-income countries. Determining such research priorities will enhance the possible effectiveness of such research endeavors. Resource constraints and low prioritization of health service research in low-income countries make the clarity of the ‘research compass' critical.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Health Care Reform

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Health Systems Management: Evidence, Information, and Human Resources

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA