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      Integrating evidence from research into decision-making for controlling endemic tropical diseases in South East Nigeria: perceptions of producers and users of evidence on barriers and solutions

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          Endemic tropical diseases (ETDs) constitute a significant health burden in resource-poor countries. Weak integration of research evidence into policy and practice poses a major challenge to the control of ETDs. This study was undertaken to explore barriers to the use of research evidence in decision-making for controlling ETDs. It also highlights potential strategies for addressing these barriers, including the gaps in research generation and utilisation in the context of endemic disease control.


          Information on barriers and solutions to integrating research evidence into decision-making for controlling ETDs in Anambra State, Nigeria, was collected from 68 participants (producers and users of evidence) during structured discussions in a workshop. Participants were purposively selected and allocated to groups based on their current involvement in endemic disease control and expertise. Discussions were facilitated with a topic guide and detailed notes were taken by an appointed recorder. Outputs from the discussions were synthesised and analysed manually.


          Cross-cutting barriers include a weak research linkage between producers and users of evidence and weak capacity to undertake health policy and systems research (HPSR). Producers of evidence were purported to conceptualise and frame their research questions based on their academic interests and funders’ focus without recourse to the decision-makers. Conversely, poor demand for research evidence was reported among users of evidence. Another user barrier identified was moribund research units of the Department of Planning Research and Statistics within the State Ministry of Health. Potential solutions for addressing these barriers include creation of knowledge networks and partnerships between producers and users of evidence, institutionalisation of sustainable capacity-building of both parties in HPSR and revival of State research units.


          Evidence-informed decision-making for controlling ETDs is limited by constraints in the interactions of some factors between the users (supply side) and producers (demand side) of evidence. These constraints could be solved through stronger research collaborations, institutionalisation of HPSR, and frameworks for getting research into policy and practice.

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          Most cited references 17

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          SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 1: What is evidence-informed policymaking?

          This article is part of a series written for people responsible for making decisions about health policies and programmes and for those who support these decision makers. In this article, we discuss the following three questions: What is evidence? What is the role of research evidence in informing health policy decisions? What is evidence-informed policymaking? Evidence-informed health policymaking is an approach to policy decisions that aims to ensure that decision making is well-informed by the best available research evidence. It is characterised by the systematic and transparent access to, and appraisal of, evidence as an input into the policymaking process. The overall process of policymaking is not assumed to be systematic and transparent. However, within the overall process of policymaking, systematic processes are used to ensure that relevant research is identified, appraised and used appropriately. These processes are transparent in order to ensure that others can examine what research evidence was used to inform policy decisions, as well as the judgements made about the evidence and its implications. Evidence-informed policymaking helps policymakers gain an understanding of these processes.
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            Pathways to “Evidence-Informed” Policy and Practice: A Framework for Action

            Bowen and Zwi propose a new framework that can help researchers and policy makers to navigate the use of evidence.
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              Knowledge for better health: a conceptual framework and foundation for health research systems.

              Health research generates knowledge that can be utilized to improve health system performance and, ultimately, health and health equity. We propose a conceptual framework for health research systems (HRSs) that defines their boundaries, components, goals, and functions. The framework adopts a systems perspective towards HRSs and serves as a foundation for constructing a practical approach to describe and analyse HRSs. The analysis of HRSs should, in turn, provide a better understanding of how research contributes to gains in health and health equity. In this framework, the intrinsic goals of the HRS are the advancement of scientific knowledge and the utilization of knowledge to improve health and health equity. Its four principal functions are stewardship, financing, creating and sustaining resources, and producing and using research. The framework, as it is applied in consultation with countries, will provide countries and donor agencies with relevant inputs to policies and strategies for strengthening HRSs and using knowledge for better health.

                Author and article information

                Health Res Policy Syst
                Health Res Policy Syst
                Health Research Policy and Systems
                BioMed Central (London )
                13 January 2020
                13 January 2020
                : 18
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2108 8257, GRID grid.10757.34, Health Policy Research Group, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine, , University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, ; Enugu, Nigeria
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2108 8257, GRID grid.10757.34, Department of Health Administration and Management, Faculty of Health Science and Technology, College of Medicine, , University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, ; Enugu, Nigeria
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2108 8257, GRID grid.10757.34, Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, , University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, ; Enugu, Nigeria
                © The Author(s). 2020

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: TDR/WHO
                Award ID: Impact Grant programme
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                © The Author(s) 2020


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