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Researcher and policymaker dialogue: the Policy BUDDIES Project in Western Cape Province, South Africa.

Young, Taryn, Shearer, Jessica C, Naude, Celeste, Kredo, Tamara, Wiysonge, Charles S and Garner, Paul ORCID: (2018) 'Researcher and policymaker dialogue: the Policy BUDDIES Project in Western Cape Province, South Africa.'. BMJ Global Health, Vol 3.

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Dialogue and exchange between researchers and policy personnel may increase the use of research evidence in policy. We piloted and evaluated a programme of formalised dialogue between researchers and provincial health policymakers in South Africa, called the buddying programme. An external evaluation examined implementation and short-term impact, drawing on documents, in-depth interviews with policymakers, a researcher buddies focus group and our own reflection on what we learnt. We set up buddying with seven policymakers and five researchers on six policy questions. Researchers knew little about policymaking or needs of policymakers. Policymakers respected the contact with researchers, respected researchers’ objectivity and appreciated the formalised approach. Having policymaker champions facilitated the dialogue. Scenarios for policy questions and use were different. One topic was at problem identification stage (contraceptives and HIV risk), four at policy formulation stage (healthy lifestyles, chronic illness medication adherence, integrated care of chronic illness and maternal transmission of HIV to infants) and one at implementation stage (task shifting). Research evidence were used to identify or solve a policy problem (two scenarios), to legitimise a predetermined policy position (three scenarios) or the evidence indirectly influenced the policy (one scenario). The formalised dialogue required in this structured buddying programme took time and commitment from both sides. The programme illustrated the importance of researchers listening, and policymakers understanding what research can offer. Both parties recognised that the structured buddying made the dialogue happen. Often the evidence was helpful in supporting provincial policy decisions that were in the roll-out phase from the national government.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QS Anatomy > QS 4 General works. Classify here works on regional anatomy
WA Public Health > WA 100 General works
WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Health Administration and Organization > WA 525 General works
WA Public Health > Health Administration and Organization > WA 540 National and state health administration
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2019 12:48
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2019 10:16


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