Our Work

Our Work

Strengthening Capacity for Evidence Use in Health Policy

The Strengthening Capacity to Use Research Evidence in Health Policy (SECURE Health) programme seeks to optimise individual and institutional capacity in accessing and utilising health research evidence in decision-making in Kenya and Malawi. Not much is known on what works and what doesn’t in strengthening the capacity of policymakers and their institutions to use research evidence, and so the SECURE Health programme generates important information to fill this knowledge gap. Lessons from Kenya and Malawi are shared through annual platforms of the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) in order to share learning with other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. SECURE Health is a three-year programme running from November 2013 to November 2016.

Project Manager

Rose N. Oronje, Ph.D.
Rose N. Oronje, Ph.D. Director, Science Communications & Evidence Uptake Read More

Project Overview

The use of rigorous data and research evidence can help improve health outcomes and reduce the high disease burden in Africa by informing formulation of robust policies and implementation plans, and design of effective health interventions. However, utilisation of evidence in decision-making processes in the health sector is limited in due to bottlenecks that operate at individual, system and institutional levels.

Focusing on the ‘demand-side’ of evidence uptake, the SECURE Health programme was set up to test interventions that have potential to address individual and organisational barriers to evidence use in the health sector.

The primary aim of the programme is to strengthen the capacity of health policy makers and legislators in accessing, interpreting, and using research evidence in decision-making processes.

The programme is implemented in the Ministries of Health and Parliaments in Kenya and Malawi. In each country, our interventions seek to strengthen individual technical knowledge and skills in finding and using research evidence as well as leadership and institutional structures and systems for enabling increased use of evidence in health policy decision-making. We focus on these two areas because they work in synergy to enable evidence use in decision-making.

The following interventions are implemented to realise the programme’s two interrelated objectives as below:

Objective 1: Optimising institutional leadership and capacity to enhance evidence use

  • Engaging with leaders in the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Parliament, and evidence champions to strengthen their active role in promoting evidence use in decision-making
  • Hosting and supporting sessions on prioritisation of research evidence and addressing bottlenecks to its use at existing high-level forums, seminars and conferences
  • Engaging ministers of health, directors of health services, national health research organisations and deans of medical teaching institutions from ECSA-HC’s ten member countries to promote access and use of research evidence in decision-making in their countries
  • Supporting the development of the national health research agenda in Kenya and review of the impact of research agenda in Malawi
  • Supporting the development of evidence-informed decision-making toolkit/guidelines for policymakers
  • Facilitating interaction between policymakers and researchers through Science-Policy Cafés, and other linkages between MoH, parliament, and research institutions

Objective 2: Enhancing individual skills and capacity of policy-makers in the ministry of health and the legislature in accessing, appraising and using evidence

  • Training workshops and follow-up support for mid-level policy-makers on evidence-informed policy- making
  • Internships for parliamentary staff at the UK Parliament

Programme Monitoring and Evaluation

A key focus of the programme is to build evidence on what works in building capacity for access and use of evidence among policy-makers. In order to document lessons from the programme, we are implementing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation strategy that includes baseline survey, quarterly and annual reporting, mid-term review and endline survey. In addition, DFID has commissioned an external team that is conducting prospective monitoring and evaluation of the programme.

Funding and Partnership

SECURE Health is implemented through a consortium of five institutions led by AFIDEP and in partnership with the Ministries of Health and Parliaments in Kenya and Malawi. Consortium partners include: FHI 360, the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC), the Consortium for National Health Research (CNHR-Kenya), College of Medicine at the University of Malawi, and UK’s Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).

SECURE Health is a three-year programme funded under the Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence programme of the UK’s Department for International Development. Programme implementation has involved an inception phase of 8 months (November 2013-July 2014) and implementation phase of two and half years (August 2014 – January 2017).

Read the programme brochure here for Kenya and for Malawi.