The International Multidisciplinary Programme to Address Lung Health and TB in Africa (IMPALA), hosted by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LTSM), is a collaboration of 17 partner institutions across 11 African countries. IMPALA will engage in multi-disciplinary collaborative work with scientists from Africa and the UK in the clinical and public health, applied social science, health systems, health economics and modelling, and implementation science disciplines. Through these multi-disciplinary collaborations, IMPALA will produce scientific knowledge and implementable solutions for issues related to lung health in Africa. The work will focus specifically on intersections between non-communicable lung disease, acute lung disease, air pollution, and tobacco-related disease; and how each of these interact with TB.
Objective 1: Strengthen the capacity of the IMPALA project teams to effectively undertake policy engagement and evidence uptake activities at the national and regional levels.
The main capacity building activity will be training workshops on effective research translation and policy engagement for IMPALA researchers, and provision of support into actual research translation and policy engagement (including review and input into evidence products such as policy briefs, media briefings, etc.). AFIDEP will prepare reports of capacity strengthening efforts.
Map capacity needs of IMPALA project teams in policy engagement and evidence uptake
AFIDEP will adapt and administer a needs assessment tool using the Survey Monkey software to all IMPALA PhD students, PDRAs, discipline leads, and country leads to assess their capabilities in effective research translation and policy engagement. This will inform the development of a capacity strengthening strategy.
Design and implement capacity strengthening strategy for evidence uptake
The primary sub-activity will be the development of the policy engagement and evidence uptake training workshop curriculum, which will be informed by the needs assessment.
AFIDEP will conduct at least two 5-day capacity strengthening training workshops. One of the training workshops will take place in January 2018 in Liverpool, and will be designed for the benefit of the PhD students in particular, though other IMPALA partners and affiliates will be welcome to take part as well. Building on learnings from this inaugural training workshop, additional week-long training workshops will be conducted to strengthen the capacity of IMPALA country leads and PDRAs in research translation and policy engagement.
AFIDEP will prepare reports of training learnings from the needs assessment, pre-posttest surveys, and training evaluations.
The PhD students will complete a 10-week policy engagement project during which they will develop policy engagement strategies for their research projects in the spring of 2018 following the policy engagement workshop in January. Other IMPALA team members will undertake similar policy engagement work in the early stages of the projects, with each project to develop a policy engagement and evidence uptake strategy. This work will be supervised/supported by AFIDEP.
Objective 2: Identify policy and programme barriers to promoting and sustaining behaviours and environments which protect lung health and using that knowledge to explore the potential role of evidence and associated factors in addressing the barriers.
Conduct policy audits and stakeholder analyses at the national and regional levels
Policy audits and stakeholder analysis to inform strategy will be led by AFIDEP and IMPALA project and country teams, and will take a political economy dimension to identify policy and programme barriers to promoting and sustaining behaviours and environments that promote and protect lung health.
Reports of findings of policy audits and stakeholder analyses will be prepared by AFIDEP at the regional level, and by research teams with input from AFIDEP at the project and national levels. Reports will inform policy engagement strategies at the regional and national levels.
Objective 3: Develop and implement policy engagement, evidence uptake, and accountability strategies to generate demand for, and enable the utilisation of, IMPALA research in policy formulation and programme design to improve Lung Health and TB in Africa.
AFIDEP and IMPALA project and country teams will design and implement a comprehensive policy engagement and evidence uptake strategy – IMPALA project and country teams will implement the project-level and national strategies with technical support from AFIDEP, and AFIDEP will lead the regional strategy.
Develop policy engagement and evidence uptake strategies with input from IMPALA project teams (overall, and at the project, national, regional, and global levels)
AFIDEP and IMPALA project and country teams will design and implement a comprehensive evidence uptake strategy that will respond to the identified barriers. This strategy will comprise project-level, national, regional and global efforts to facilitate evidence uptake.
Implement policy engagement and evidence uptake strategies at the national level
AFIDEP will support IMPALA project and country teams in the implementation of the evidence uptake strategy at the national level. This will include the review of and input into evidence products (ex. policy briefs, media briefings, etc.) and review of, and input into the design of evidence dialogues.
Implement policy engagement and evidence uptake strategy at regional and global levels
AFIDEP will work with project teams to develop regional evidence products, as well as discuss evidence at regional and global forums. These will include forums at the regional platforms (including the East African Community (EAC); the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and the African Union (AU)).
Document progress and learnings from implementation of policy engagement and evidence uptake strategies across projects and at the national, regional, and global levels
A critical piece of this project will be to bring together learnings from the implementation of policy engagement and evidence uptake strategies across projects and at all levels (national, regional, and global). Reports of progress and learnings will be written based on the experience of project teams.