Developing Framework and Strategies for Capacity Building to Apply Evidence-Informed Health Policy-Making in Iran: Mixed Methods Study of SAHSHA Project

Document Type : Original Article


1 The Bernard Lown Scholar in Cardiovascular Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA

2 National Institute for Health Research, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Knowledge Utilization Research Center, University Research and Development Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

5 Knowledge Utilization Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

6 Tabriz Health Services Management Research Center, Department of Health Policy & Management, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

7 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Health Management and Safety Promotion Research Institute, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

8 Iranian Social Security Organization, Tehran, Iran

9 Social Security Research Institute, Tehran, Iran


SASHA, which stands for “evidence-informed health policy-making (EIHP)” in Persian, is a national project to draw a roadmap for strengthening EIHP in Iran. As a part of SASHA, this research aimed to develop evidencebased and context-aware policy options for increasing the capacity of decision-makers to apply EIHP in Iran.

This was a qualitative study, which was informed by a literature review of pull efforts’ capacity building programs. Based on the review, we developed policy options and validated them through an expert panel that involved twelve experts. Data were analyzed using a content analysis method.

We extracted data from 11 articles. The objectives of capacity building programs were: single-skill development, personal/professional development, and organizational development. According to these objectives, the contents and training methods of the programs vary. Capacity building programs have shown positive impacts on individual knowledge/attitudes to use EIHP. However, the impacts of programs at the organizational or the health system level remain under-researched. We followed several threads from the literature review through to the expert panel that included training the management team, instead of training managers, training for problem-solving skills, and designing tailored programs. Barriers of capacity building for EIHP regard the context of the health system (weak accountability and the widespread conflict of interest) and healthcare organizational structures (decision support systems, knowledge management infrastructures, and lack of management team). Experts suggested interventions on the barriers, particularly on resolving the conflict of interests before launching new programs. A proposed framework to increase the capacity of health policy-makers incorporates strategies at three levels: capacity building program, organizational structure, and health system context.
To prepare the context of Iranian healthcare organizations for capacity building programs, the conflict of interests needs to be resolved, decision-makers should be made more accountable, and healthcare organizations need to provide more knowledge management infrastructures and decision support systems.


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Volume 11, Issue 10
October 2022
Pages 2236-2247
  • Receive Date: 04 August 2020
  • Revise Date: 19 September 2021
  • Accept Date: 10 October 2021
  • First Publish Date: 11 October 2021