The Malawi Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Kumpalume, on July 19, 2016, launched guidelines developed to provide guidance to Ministry staff on using research and other evidence in decision-making.
Speaking at the event, the Minister emphasized the important role of evidence in decision-making. He said, “through the use of evidence in decision-making, I believe Malawi will be able to achieve some of the goals outlined in the Health Sector Strategic Plan as well as the National Health Research Agenda.”
The Minister called on Ministry of Health staff to make good use of the guidelines to improve the quality of decisions made, which will ultimately improve the health of Malawians. He said, “I’ve read the guidelines and I find them very useful”.
The guidelines, referred to as Guidelines for Evidence Use in Policy-Making, will be used by the Ministry’s staff to enable better and increased use of research results and other information in decision-making and health care provision.
At the same event, the Minister presided over the graduation of 22 Ministry of Health staff who have been trained in better use of research evidence in their work over the past year.
The development of the guidelines and the training of Malawi Ministry’s staff in better use of research evidence in decision-making are the outcomes of a three-year programme that the Ministry has been implementing together with the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) and the College of Medicine at the University of Malawi.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Eliya Zulu, AFIDEP’s Executive Director, challenged the Ministry to disseminate the guidelines extensively and promote their usage so that improved policy decisions and programmes within the health sector can be seen.
He said, “I’m excited to witness this event”¦the success of this event will be the improved quality of policies and programmes that will arise from the better use of evidence that these guidelines seek to entrench within the Ministry.”
Dr. Zulu congratulated the MoH policymakers trained and called on the MoH and other development partners to invest into the training of more MoH officers as the training programme had demonstrated effectiveness in improving the use of evidence in decision-making.
The trained MoH policymakers presented policy briefs they had prepared as part of the training at the event. The policy briefs touched on key policy issues that Malawi is grappling with, and discussed what the country needs to do based on existing evidence to respond to these issues.
Speaking at the event, Mr Andrew McNee, Senior Health Advisor at DFID’s office in Malawi, said that the success of the guidelines and the graduation of Ministry staff in evidence-informed policy-making (EIPM) will be demonstrated in ensuring that the country’s 2016-2021 Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP), that is currently being developed, is informed by the best available evidence. Said he, “the Ministry is currently developing the next 2016-2021 HSSP strategy. This document needs to be based on the best-available evidence. This is a litmus test for the effectiveness of the SECURE Health programme in Malawi.”
The event was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Health, the College of Medicine, who are central partners in the SECURE Health programme.