• Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

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AFIDEP Researcher urges County Governments to utilize Evidence-based Approaches to Enhance Healthcare Services

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Poor research uptake that is characterized by low demand for evidence in policy formulation and implementation, continues to hamper the quality of healthcare service in county governments.

Speaking while opening the second Kilifi County Scientific Symposium 2023, Dr Rose Oronje, Director-Public Policy and Knowledge Translation and Head of the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) Kenya Office, said there are inadequate linkages between national research institutions and county governments.

“The result has been poorly designed services rendered to citizens derived from policies that are not well-informed by evidence,” she said.

She added that evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) helps planners to identify priorities, design effective interventions, determine resource allocations and monitor and improve implementation or performance.

However, she challenged the counties to continuously engage with the national government, who is the custodian of the existing evidence generation structures, in order to benefit from the numerous research resources that exist in the country.

“This means that county governments must cultivate and nurture good relations with the national research institutions to ease their access to the available evidence needed for formulation of policies responsive to the needs of citizens they serve,” she advised.

Dr Oronje noted that as a country, Kenya has demonstrated her commitment to evidence-based health care, a fact that has seen the country develop robust research and institutional structures, policy and legal frameworks, which, when put to good use, could revolutionize healthcare services in each of her 47 counties.

Research institutions actively generating and providing evidence that have for years guided the country’s health policies include the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and its associated centres, Universities, Health Management and Information Systems, among others.

To support work by these institutions, the government has strived to put in place the right legal frameworks.

For example, only last month, the government launched the Universal Health Coverage Act to bolster other existing laws such as the Health Act of 2017, Health Strategy 2014-2030, Health Strategic Plans and Research-for-Health Policy Framework.

“However, appropriate laws and the existence of evidence would not help much if the counties do not invest in evidence systems, and enhance the technical capacity of their staff to harness available evidence,” she said.

These measures, she said, require political goodwill from the top leadership, a change of values that cherishes evidence in decision-making practices and a change of cultural values and behaviours.

“There has to be deliberate effort for accountability and transparency,” she said.

The second Kilifi County Scientific Symposium seeks to promote the transformation of research findings into actionable strategies for achieving quality health care in Kilifi County. The symposium brings together healthcare professionals, researchers, policymakers, and community members to discuss evidence-based innovative approaches that will bridge the gap between research and implementation.

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