On the Path to UHC – Global Evidence Must Go Local to Be Useful; Comment on “Disease Control Priorities Third Edition Is Published: A Theory of Change Is Needed for Translating Evidence to Health Policy”

Document Type: Commentary

Authors

1 Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), Oslo, Norway

2 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, WA, USA

Abstract

The Disease Control Priorities (DCP) publications have pioneered new ways of thinking about investing in health. We agree with Norheim, that a useful first step to advance efforts to translate DCP’s global evidence into local health priorities, is to develop a clear Theory of Change (ToC). However, a ToC that aims to define how global evidence (DCP and others) can be used to inform national policy is too narrow an undertaking. We propose efforts should be directed towards developing a ToC to define how to support progressive institutional development to deliver on universal health coverage (UHC), putting the client at the center. Enhancing efforts to meet the new global health imperatives requires a shift in focus of attention to move radically from global to local. In order to achieve this we need to reorganize the nature of technical assistance (TA) along three major lines (1) examine and act to clarify the mandates and roles to be played by multilateral normative and convening agencies, (2) ensure detailed understanding of local institutions, their needs and their demands, and (3) provide TA over time and in trust with local counterparts. This last requirement implies the need for long-term local presence as well as an international network of expertise centers, to share scarce technical capabilities as well as to learn together across country engagements. Financing will need to be reorganized to incentivize and support demand-led capacity strengthening.

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