Capturing discussions on research uptake at the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research
Most health systems researchers want to make a positive change. Whether their aims relate to issues such as efficiency, equity, or functionality, they would like to see the evidence that they generate used in decision making. While efforts to understand the process by which research makes its way into policy and practice are not new, there is still much that we do not know about the types of health systems evidence that are most compelling and impactful, the factors that facilitate the research to decision-making process, and the real-world challenges faced when conducting this work from a variety of contexts.
While there has been a great deal of attention to the process and mechanisms by which evidence influences policy and practice in the health field in high-income countries, less is known about the mechanisms of change in low- and middle-income settings. Although frameworks for the use of evidence in policy making have been tested in these settings, there is less evidence from ‘difficult’ environments, such as post-conflict and fragile settings, where the use of evidence in decision-making may be more challenging and less institutionalised, a multiplicity of stakeholders may need to be included, and public policy and governance are in a state of flux.
Pamoja crafted a diverse and well-qualified team with a passion for inclusive health systems, research communications and uptake, strengthening health-related decision making, and improving the evidence base in this area. This accumulated practical and academic knowledge was used to capture, analyse and report emerging lessons from the Global Symposium.
In commissioning this project Health Systems Global provided the opportunity for an analysis of a wide range of health systems research areas, spanning all geographical regions, which is cutting edge and has been chosen for its novelty and excellence. This was a unique opportunity for a rapid
appraisal of the state of knowledge which is unprecedented in the health systems research world.
A report was delivered to DFID, Health Systems Global and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine which integrated quantitative and qualitative data gathered at the Symposium as well as in-depth case studies describing the role played by research in health systems decisions or policy changes. This report strengthened our understanding of the contribution of research to health systems decision-making and highlights promising practices and environments that accord with, and diverge from, the existing evidence base.
We believe that this formed a useful contribution to both academic study and practical action in the area of research communications and uptake.