Document Type : Original Article
African Institute for Health Policy & Health Systems, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria
Department of Medical Microbiology/Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria
Department of Accountancy & Banking/Finance, Faculty of Management Sciences, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria
National Obstetrics Fistula Centre, Abakaliki, Nigeria
Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria
Ebonyi State Ministry of Health, Abakaliki, Nigeria
There is need to strengthen institutions and mechanisms that can more systematically promote interactions between researchers, policy-makers and other stakeholders who can influence the uptake of research findings. In this article, we report the outcome of a two-way secondment model between Ebonyi State University (EBSU) and Ebonyi State Ministry of Health (ESMoH) in Nigeria as an innovative collaborative strategy to promote capacity enhancement for evidence-to-policy-to-action.
This study was an exploratory design with a quantitative cross-sectional survey technique. A secondment memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between heads of EBSU and ESMoH. The secondment program lasted six months with ten researchers and ten policy-makers spending up to two days per week in each other’s organization. The secondee researchers got engaged in policy-making and implementation activities in ESMoH, while the policy-maker secondees got involved in research activities in EBSU. Secondees evidence-to-policy capacity enhancement meetings were held and questionnaires designed in 5-point Likert scale were used to assess their impact.
The secondee policy-makers and researchers admitted having considerable knowledge of secondment with mean ratings (MNRs) of 3.40 and 3.74 respectively on the 5 points scale. Secondment appeared to be more common in the policy-makers’ organization (MNRs: 2.80-3.07) than in the researchers’ institution (MNRs: 2.58-2.84). The secondee policy-makers participated in some academic and research activities including serving in research ethics committee in EBSU and provided policy-making perspective to the activities. The secondee researchers supported the policymaking process in ESMoH through policy advisory roles, and provided capacity enhancement for staff of the ministry on the use of research evidence in policy-making. There was a noteworthy increase on knowledge of policy analysis and contextualization among the secondees ranging from 20.7% to 50.4% and 31.3% to 42.8% respectively following a training session. A Society for Health Policy Research and Knowledge Translation was established by mutual agreement of secondees as a platform to permanently institutionalize the collaboration.
The outcome of this study clearly suggests that secondment has great potential in promoting evidence informed policy-making and merits further consideration.