Background The lack of effective use of research evidence in policy-making is a major challenge in most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). There is need to package research data into effective policy tools that will help policy-makers to make evidence-informed policy regarding infectious diseases of poverty (IDP). The objective of this study was to assess the usefulness of training workshops and mentoring to enhance the capacity of Nigerian health policy-makers to develop evidence-informed policy brief on the control of IDP.
Methods A modified “before and after” intervention study design was used in which outcomes were measured on the target participants both before the intervention is implemented and after. A 4-point Likert scale according to the degree of adequacy; 1 = “grossly inadequate,” 4 = “very adequate” was employed. The main parameter measured was participants’ perceptions of their own knowledge/understanding. This study was conducted at subnational level and the participants were the career health policy-makers drawn from Ebonyi State in the South-Eastern Nigeria. A oneday evidence-to-policy workshop was organized to enhance the participants’ capacity to develop evidence-informed policy brief on IDP in Ebonyi State. Topics covered included collaborative initiative; preparation and use of policy briefs; policy dialogue; ethics in health policy-making; and health policy and politics.
Results The preworkshop mean of knowledge and capacity ranged from 2.49-3.03, while the postworkshop mean ranged from 3.42–3.78 on 4-point scale. The percentage increase in mean of knowledge and capacity at the end of the workshop ranged from 20.10%–45%. Participants were divided into 3 IDP mentorship groups (malaria, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis [LF]) and were mentored to identify potential policy options/recommendations for control of the diseases for the policy briefs. These policy options were subjected to research evidence synthesis by each group to identify the options that have the support of research evidence (mostly systematic reviews) from PubMed, Cochrane database and Google Scholar. After the evidence synthesis, five policy options were selected out of 13 for malaria, 3 out of 10 for schistosomiasis and 5 out of 11 for LF.
Conclusion The outcome suggests that an evidence-to-policy capacity enhancement workshop combined with a mentorship programme can improve policy-makers’ capacity for evidence-informed policy-making (EIP).
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