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Better research capacity means better decision-making

This policy brief, published by the Towards 4+5 Research Programme Consortium, presents policymakers and researchers with strategies for using scientific research to inform decision-making in mother and newborn health.

The authors highlight some of the factors that constrain the effective use of research in policymaking, including the influence of powerful international actors — including major donors and multilateral organisations — on national policies, a preference for experimental research methods that assess single interventions rather than complex health systems, and conflicting attitudes within countries concerning research agendas and the capacity of local researchers.

They provide a number of recommendations for action, from supporting context-specific research to promoting new research models — including a more open critique of the limitations of evidence-based research methods for investigating health systems issues such as maternal and neonatal health.

Increasing the effectiveness of evidence-based policymaking relies on building the capacity of national stakeholders, to engage with local communities and develop and use different types of research across multiple disciplines to solve local problems, the authors conclude.

Link to full paper from Towards 4+5[274kB]

This policy brief was written by Rebecca Wolfe and Dominique Behague from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.