A Kenyan organization, Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR), says multiplicity of actors with different interests is hindering the successful uptake of research evidence in the decision-making process in most African countries.
The actors in sectors such as health are coming with different ideologies, power, resources, capacity, knowledge and this was leading to decision makers to question the work being done by them, according to PASGR Programmes Officer, Jim Katetch.
Katetch said this during the launch of the PASGR Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Utafiti Sera programme in Lusaka on Thursday, a project expected to run for two years and implemented by the Centre for Reproductive Health and Education (CRHE).
He stated that against this backdrop, PASGR, designed the Utafiti Sera, a unique and innovative approach to bridging the gap between research evidence, policymaking and implementation.
“Using policy champions, the Utafiti Sera main goal is to break the barriers between researchers and policy makers from government and non-governmental institutions,” Katetch said.
He said unless community members understand that they have a right to quality health care, they would not demand for the right policy changes in their country.
Katetch noted that institutionalisation of a culture of evidence-informed decision making (EIDM) had continued to dominate the policy debates and conversations across Africa in the recent past.
“Policy makers, academicians, governance institutions and major funding organisations have advocated for the adoption of an EIDM approach in the formulation, review and implementation of policies at national and subnational levels, to guarantee better policy outcomes,” he noted.
Katetch stated that despite the growing attention on EIDM, proponents continue to grapple with what are the authentic sources of evidence and whose evidence counts, particularly, the context between scientifically acquired and policy driven.
He noted that at the heart of this conundrum was the question about operationalisation of a culture that anchors evidence use in decision-making processes.
“In Africa, these issues coupled with a multiplicity of actors with different interests, ideologies, power, resources, capacity and knowledge, hinders the successful uptake of research evidence in the decision-making process,” Katetch said.
Meanwhile, CRHE Executive Director, Amos Mwale, said the UHC Utafiti Sera project would be implemented in the country with the involvement of several stakeholders in the health sector.
Mwale stated that the project would ensure that everyone had access to equittable, quality health care through the implementation of various policies which would be recommended at the end of the two years.
“We want to ensure that there is equitable access to health services. People are now talking about health financing and how the budget is being utilised towards achieving Universal Health Coverage for all,” he said.
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