Edwine Barasa presenting at the Health Financing and Governance Knowledge Synthesis Workshop, Nigeria, 2018

RESYST researchers quoted in news article about strategic purchasing and evidence based policymaking in Nigeria

13 June 2018

An article, published in the Daily Trust on 13 June, examines how RESYST research on health systems is producing a growing body of evidence to feed into government policies, even before they are made.

"My colleague often describes policy as faith-based rather than evidence-based...as much as possible, we want to be making important decisions based on high quality evidence about our health systems work and what works in order to shape the health systems." - Kara Hanson

The research

Drawing on quotes from RESYST researchers, the article summarises research conducted by the Health Policy Research Group (HPRG) in Nigeria that investigates how alternative sources of finance could help increase money available for the health sector.

By studying the constraints to increasing government health spending, the research has revealed that Lagos has been riding high on revenue but there is no clear evidence that its revenue has translated to higher health spending. So how can we persuade finance ministries to spend more on health?

“It is a mixed picture, but it is partly about evidence...Finance ministries want evidence that the money is going to be well spent. So there is something about enabling health ministries to get a better case for spending on health.” - Kara Hanson

Evidence into policy

The article also highlights an important aspect of RESYST's work to ensure that research is used and positively impacts health systems - that is policymaker and stakeholder engagement from the start:

“From the moment we conceptualise the research, we build in the integrated knowledge translation...because we usually involve [policymakers] in the research, the likelihood that they will uptake any evidence we produce is quite high. Even though we are producing technical evidence, getting evidence into the process is actually a social issue, hence stakeholder engagement is usually the key.” - Benjamin Uzochukwu

In Kenya, Edwine Barasa (pictured above), director of the Kemri-Wellcome Nairobi programme has seen examples where working with policymakers has informed formulation of laws and processes.

"When you work with policymakers to come up with questions to do the research, and to collectively think about how to interpret and use that research data for informed policy, then it tends to enhance the translation of research to policy.” - Edwine Barasa

Related resources

Read the full article online: Not by faith: Growing data evidence creeps on policymaking

Blog: 5 lessons on how to influence policy: insights from a researcher turned policymaker in Nigeria

Topic overview: What is strategic purchasing for health?

News and resources: Health Financing and Governance Knowledge Synthesis Workshop