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Table 4 Activities used to link research to action, facilitators, challenges, and lessons learned

From: Capturing lessons learned from evidence-to-policy initiatives through structured reflection

Themes    Results
Climate  
Activities    • No systematic activities identified although a range of ad hoc activities were undertaken
Facilitators    • Policymakers’ and stakeholders’ support
     • International funding support
Challenges    • Lack of skilled human resources to undertake knowledge translation (KT) activities
     • Gaps in infrastructure (e.g., lack of a functional internet connection)
Lessons learned    • Increase awareness among policymakers and stakeholders including those outside the health sector
   • Increase financial and technical support from funders
Research production  
Activities    • Three Knowledge Translation Platforms (KTPs) built their capacity for conducting systematic reviews and undertaking priority-setting exercises
     • Six KTPs conducted priority-setting exercises with policymakers to identify high priority policy issues prior to pursuing EIHP activities
     • Two KTPs produced systematic reviews
Facilitators    • None identified
Challenges    • Lag in or lack of local research production
Lessons learned    • Build the production of local evidence
Push efforts  
Activities    • All KTPs built their capacity to develop evidence briefs for policy
   • All KTPs developed evidence briefs
Facilitators    • None identified
Challenges    • Lack of skilled human resources to pursue push efforts
     • Poor quality of local information
Lessons learned    • Build capacity within KTPs for push efforts
   • Build capacity of researchers to align research with policy and disseminate research on policy-relevant topics
Facilitate user-pull  
Activities    • Four KTPs are in the process of implementing rapid response services (RRS)
   • Five KTPs are in the process of creating online clearinghouses
Facilitators    • None identified
Challenges    • Lack of highly skilled and dedicated personnel to provide RRS and one-stop shopping
     • Difficulty in accessing and finding local evidence
Lessons learned    • Build capacity of KTPs to undertake such activities
   • Increase financial support to pursue capacity building for such activities
User-pull  
Activities    • One KTP engaged in efforts to assess and enhance the capacity of research users to acquire, assess, adapt, and apply research
Facilitators    • Strong leadership and political will
Challenges    • High turnover in top level policymakers in government
     • Resistance to change and strong political influences
Lessons learned    • Assess and build capacity among research users to acquire, assess, adapt, and apply research
   • Establish institutional structures and routine processes to support evidence-informed health policymaking (EIHP)
Exchange  
Activities    • All KTPs engaged in organizing deliberative dialogues informed by evidence briefs
Facilitators    • Skilled human resources to moderate deliberative processes
     • Support of policymakers and stakeholders
     • Location within the Ministry of Health brings KTPs closer to policymakers and stakeholders
Challenges    • Difficulty in convincing policymakers, stakeholders, and researchers to interact
     • High turnover in top level policymakers in government
Lessons learned    • Build the capacity of researchers and KTPs to engage in exchange efforts
   • Extend interactions to community members, donors, international community, and the media
     • Provide incentives for the participation of policymakers and researchers
     • Interact with other KTPs to share experience and best practice
Evaluation  
Activities    • Four KTPs had evaluated evidence briefs, deliberative dialogues, and capacity building sessions through pre/post intervention questionnaires
   • None of the KTPs had yet begun to assess the long-term impact of their activities in policymaking
Outcomes    • Seven KTPs reported increased awareness of the importance of EIHP initiatives among policymakers, stakeholders, and researchers
   • Eight KTPs reported strengthened relationships among policymakers, stakeholders, and researchers
   • Six KTPs reported that their evidence briefs helped inform policymaking at the government level
   • Six KTPs reported increased demand for KT products by policymakers
   • Three KTPs reported enhanced capacity among KTP members for developing evidence briefs and deliberative dialogues
   • One KTP reported enhanced capacity among policymakers for accessing, assessing, and using research evidence
Facilitators    • Strong leadership support particularly from policymakers at the government level to achieve outcomes
Challenges    • Perception that monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities were challenging
     • Lack of capacity within KTPs to conduct M&E activities
Lessons learned    • Intensify M&E efforts to build the case for sustainability
Sustainability  
Views    • Six KTPs viewed their work as a long-term initiative
Facilitators    • None identified
Challenges    • Difficulty in ensuring the sustainability of EIHP initiatives
     • Difficulty in identifying long-term sources of funding
Lessons learned    • Institutionalize KTPs within the structures (or processes) of the government
   • Build and retain capacity within KTPs and similar organizations
     • Apply for funding from international and governmental sources or conduct revenue-generating activities such as RRS