In 2011, the government of Malawi adopted a National Health Research Agenda (NHRA) for 2012-2016 to guide investments in health research in order to enable the generation of research that is responsive to the health needs and priorities of the country, with the ultimate aim of improving the health status of its people. The Agenda was expected to contribute to the overall goal of the second Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MDGS II) and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The specific objectives of the NHRA included to: Promote the conduct of health research responsive to the priority health needs of Malawi; Facilitate the mobilization of resources for the conduct of locally relevant health research; Promote multi-disciplinarity and collaboration in the conduct of research; Facilitate the coordination of health research conducted by various stakeholders; Promote the strengthening of capacity for conducting research in Malawi; and Facilitate translation of research findings into policy and practice.
This rapid assessment, conducted in 2015, set out to establish how effective the Malawi national health research Agenda had been in meeting its objectives in the first three and half years of its implementation. Specifically, the assessment sought to establish whether the research conducted following the issuing of the Agenda was aligned to the Agenda’s priorities; how the implementation of the research Agenda had enhanced local capacity research conducting; the extent to which the Agenda enabled the uptake of evidence in decision-making; and the extent to which the Agenda facilitated coordination of health research conducted by various stakeholders.