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Table 3 Uses of guidelines

From: Health promoter, advocate, legitimiser — the many roles of WHO guidelines: a qualitative study

To communicate evidence-based information and guidance for best practiceSince the WHO guidelines are not prescriptive, they are meant to really help decision-makers make informed decisions. It is not our role to make decisions for them” (Andrew, HQ staff)
To justify and initiate policy changes“[Guidelines are] in two-ways as a reason to and a reason not to do stuff, but they’ll often say, we’re not going to do anything unless WHO says, we’ll wait for the WHO recommendations on this, and that’s a very common mention.” (Mary, HQ Staff)
Characterising adopting WHO guideline recommendations as following the “gold standard” (Olivia, Country Office staff)
To initiate advocacy programmes raising awareness regarding conditions and their treatmentA new intervention threshold needed “advocacy programmes” that “sometimes take months, even a year” (Nicole, Country Office staff)