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Table 1 Characteristics of included studies

From: Individual and institutional capacity-building for evidence-informed health policy-making in Iran: a mix of local and global evidence

Authors (year) Objectives Country Study design Participants (n) Data collection and analysis Contexts Methods of intervention Curriculum specifications Training programme content Funding organization Outcomes Evaluation results Quality
Uneke et al. (2015) [31] To increase the interaction among researchers, policy-makers and stakeholders in decision-making Nigeria Evaluation of the implementation of a series of interventions by an implementation research framework Ten policy-makers and researchers from health ministry and university Interviews
Giorgi’s phenomenological approach
Ministry of Health Twice-weekly training sessions at Ebonyi State University, Nigeria, and Ministry of Health for 1-day policy briefing, policy workshop, policy dialogue between policy-makers and researchers Policy-makers were involved in research and educational activities, such as working on the research ethics committee. Researchers also played an advisory role in the policy-making processes of the Ministry of Health Policy-makers participated in university research activities; at the end of the 6-month period they were asked to write a brief policy on malaria based on what they learned WHO and International Development Research Centre Improvement in knowledge of evidence-to-policy, mutual mistrust between policy-makers and researchers, and the awareness of importance of the health policy advisory committee (HPAC) Evaluation results showed a noteworthy improvement in knowledge of evidence-to-policy link among the HPAC members, the elimination of mutual mistrust between policy-makers and researchers, and an increase in the awareness of importance of HPAC Good
Ju et al. (2014) [32] To evaluate the new health technologies and selection of necessary technologies Australia Mix of qualitative and quantitative methods Members of the Health Policy Advisory Committee for Health Technologies Evaluation Standardized memoranda of understanding
Cost minimization analysis
Queensland Department of Health Newsletters, presentations, posters, flyers, health technology assessment website Teaching tools to evaluate health technologies and the need to purchase and distribute them nationally Skills to evaluate health technologies; a qualified secretary with interdisciplinary knowledge was trained by committee members to carefully select the technologies needed in the health sector (health technology assessment programme) Queensland Department of Health Organizational and economic feasibility of adopting the technology, its effectiveness, implementation of QPACT (Queensland Policy and Advisory Committee for new Technology) recommendations Evaluation of the training provided to the committee showed that of the 34 technologies requested, only 17 were deemed necessary, 7 were rejected, and the rest required further consideration. It confirmed the effectiveness of the training provided to committee members Good
Khan et al. (2014) [33] To facilitate the collaboration between the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network and its policy-maker centre Canada Rapid pharmaco-epidemiological research Policy-makers at the Ontario Ministry of Health and researchers Healthcare services data for the entire population of Ontario
Rapid analyses
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) Drug Innovation Fund and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (now ICES) Regular meetings, theoretical topics, case study of “hypertension drug therapy” Conducting the monthly meetings and rewriting research questions, analysing and collecting relevant data, effectively disseminate research results Teaching how to rewrite research questions, analyse and collect relevant data, effectively inform research results Ontario MOHLTC Drug Innovation Fund and ICES, a nonprofit research institute sponsored by the Ontario MOHLTC Partnerships between researchers and policy-makers Collaborative research processes can produce mutually beneficial partnerships between researchers and policy-makers. Effective integration of research into policy-making will lead to informed decisions that profoundly affect the well-being of society at large Good
Langlois et al. (2016) [34] To increase policy-makers' participation in real-world decision-making and policy-making and to encourage interaction between researchers and policy-makers Mexico, Nicaragua, South Africa and Cameroon A mixed-methods realist evaluation design Healthcare professionals, health system stakeholders, researchers
(n = 221)
In-depth interviews and a focus group discussion,
thematic content analysis,
Maternal health programme
management teams and implementers in selected
regions of Mexico and Nicaragua
Workshops, theoretical education, case study of maternal health programme Programme implemented in three Mexican provinces and three Nicaraguan departments May 2013–March 2015, Policy Building Demand for evidence in Decision making through Interaction and Enhancing Skills
Teaching the importance of strengthening the interaction between researchers and health personnel at national and provincial levels and promoting policy-makers' participation in research Implementation research platform, Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, Norwegian Government Agency for Development Cooperation, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, United Kingdom
Department for International Development
Implementation research, quality of maternal healthcare programmes, health programme personnel, capacities to identify and use evidence, medication adherence for chronic diseases, policy-makers engaged in “buddying” process, recognition of the value of research, and greater demand for policy-relevant knowledge To evaluate the second programme, national documents were analysed, technical reports were analysed, and message exchange was conducted between researchers and policy-makers, and in-depth interviews were conducted with policy-makers and educators and researchers Good
Lavis et al. (2012) [35] To help policy-makers in formulating appropriate policy briefs for health challenges Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mozambique, Zambia, Central Africa, Ethiopia Qualitative Policy-makers and researchers from six African countries NR Local, district, national levels Conducting workshops to train how to formulate a policy brief The workshop gave tips on how to include services, financing the malaria programme, how to provide and distribute medication to patients, and how to diagnose the disease in the malaria policy brief The workshop gave tips on how to fund a malaria programme, how to provide and distribute medication to patients, and how to diagnose the disease in the malaria policy brief Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Supporting evidence-informed health systems, feedback on the approach, understanding how to match any given knowledge translation platform’s infrastructure, activities and outputs to particular contexts to achieve the greatest outcomes It is supposed that policy-makers use the policy briefs as key data in their policy dialogues Good
Lefebre (2010) [36] To integrate the evidence used in senior- and mid-level management Canada A case study approach using mixed methods Mid-level and senior managers of a home healthcare organization Dobbins framework, the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF) self-assessment tool, and a management interview tool A home healthcare organization (Saint Elizabeth Health Care) Discussion sessions, workshops Workshops and training sessions over an 18-month period by experts and professors in the field of knowledge transfer and uptake Identifying a number of key organizational strategies, discussing them, identifying barriers between senior and mid-level managers, communicating with other organizations to empower managers EXTRA fellowship programme Changes in managers' behaviour and use of scientific evidence in decisions One year after the implementation of the programme, its effectiveness was assessed. Evaluation results indicated changes in managers’ behaviour and use of scientific evidence in their decisions Good
Mavoa et al. (2012) [37] To develop and evaluate a knowledge-mediated approach to formulating obesity reduction policies in Fiji Fiji A multistage method—qualitative
(This is a study protocol)
Key people from healthcare organizations, agriculture and educational organizations Interviews, structured questions, themes and constant comparative analysis Public health and community-based obesity prevention Conducting workshops to teach evidence-based policy-making A set of workshops would be conducted for each of the organizations These workshops would cover policy and policy cycles, the policy environment, the definition of evidence, the sources of evidence and knowledge brokering Fiji National University, Fiji Ministry of Health and Deakin University The effectiveness of a knowledge-brokering approach NR Moderate
Makkar et al. (2016) [38] To measure the impact of interventions on the rate of web using among policy-makers Australia Time series study Employees (n = 392) of various state and federal agencies (n = 5) Email and website
Time series analysis
Australian policy-making organizations (n = 97) Web CIPHER tool The five institutions with the most applicants were selected. The intervention began in November 2014 and continued through February 2015. Searches for each institution were monitored for 1 month. During the first 2 weeks of the month, educational material was posted to the institution’s website During the first 2 weeks of each month, educational materials were posted on the corporate website. Then, the time series method was used to measure the amount of employees' use of submissions and the impact of training content on performance and decisions. The autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model was used to illustrate the change in the use of educational materials Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Centre of Research Excellence Number of articles and blogs on usage by all members, Web CIPHER tool usage across all member organizations, tailored articles on usage, tailored blogs on usage, usage by the target agencies, tailored articles on targeted agencies’ usage, blogs on targeted agencies’ usage The ARIMA model was used to illustrate the change in the use of educational materials. The results showed that studying the articles on the web was increased by the staff Good
Ouimet et al. (2015) [39] To evaluate the impact of an evidence-based policy-making course on students’ knowledge Canada A controlled before-and-after design Master of science students in political science
Control (n = 13)
Treatment (n = 13)
Multivariate regression analysis
Université Laval’s Master’s Programme in Public Affairs, Université Laval’s Master’s Programme in Political Science Theoretical training, training group and control group were selected among students. One group was trained in evidence-based policy-making and the other group was trained in research methodology Before taking the course, both groups underwent tests. Then both groups participated in a mandatory 45-hour training course. Courses were conducted in the winter term Intervention group was educated about different types of research methods, systematic review and critical evaluation. In the control group, a systematic review of the research methodology was taught. At the end, the test was taken in both groups Political Science Department of Laval University Basic knowledge for literature search, awareness of the existence of risk of bias in scientific studies, basic knowledge of key research designs, other basic methodological knowledge Comparison of pre- and post- test results showed that the knowledge level of the intervention group increased Good
Uneke et al. (2017) [40] To improve the knowledge and capacity of policy-makers and research team of maternal and child health programme using knowledge translation programmes and Equitable Impact Sensitive Tool (EQUIST) Nigeria A modified before-and-after intervention study Members of International Development Research Centre/West African Health Organization supported implementation research team of Edo state; policy-makers from Edo State Ministry of Health and related agencies; staff from local government area health departments, staff of the Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA), and representatives of the civil society organizations/nongovernmental organizations (CSOs/NGOs) as well as media representatives Questionnaire
Analysis: using the methods developed at McMaster University Canada by Johnson and Lavis
Edo State Ministry of Health and related agencies, local government area health departments, PHCDA, and representatives of the CSOs/NGOs Workshops by policy-makers and research team of the maternal and child health programme
(n = 45)
A 3-day workshop on knowledge translation and EQUIST was conducted. At the beginning and end of the course, a test was conducted Knowledge translation templates, tools and indicators, policy review, policy formulation, position review, scenario analysis International Development Research Centre of Canada Knowledge translation tools, intersectoral collaboration in policy-making and implementation, managing political interference in policy-making and implementation, policy review, analysis and contextualization, policy formulation and legislation process, introduction to MBB (marginal budgeting for bottlenecks tool): its weakness and replacement by EQUIST, EQUIST overview and theory of change Test results at the end of the workshop showed that the level of knowledge of policy-makers had increased Good
White et al. (2018) [41] To advise the South African national tuberculosis (TB) programme managers on evidence-based policy-making 2014–2016 South Africa NR National TB programme financing providers and other key stakeholders Documentary evidence, interviews and direct observation The South African government health and finance departments Meetings, modelling and telephone calls In addition to answering audience questions, training was provided on information and communication technologies (ICTs), budget forecasting, monitoring of new policy implementation, new human resources (HR) programmes In addition to answering questions, training was provided on ICTs, budget forecasting, monitoring of new policy implementation, new HR programmes and nurturing United Kingdom Medical Research Council, United Kingdom Department for International Development, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Unitaid An “institution”, a “policy dialogue forum” and an “interface” Analysis of evidence documents, interview and direct observation were used for evaluation. The results showed the positive effect of training on the use of evidence in decision-making Good
Dreisinger et al. (2008) [30] To determine the impact the course had on the implementation of evidence-based public health (EBPH) within their respective public health agencies USA An online evaluation of the course Programme managers, assistant directors, programme coordinators, programme directors and programme chiefs (n = 107) A 15-question web-based survey (email), descriptive statistics (mean, median, standard deviation) Respective public health agencies (state health departments) A training course to enhance evidence-based decision-making Ability to utilize the course content. This included factors external to the course content (e.g. time constraints at work) and factors more directly related to the course content (e.g. time constraints during the course), lack of relevance, complex information, and cumbersome binder Questions were framed to determine the perceived helpfulness of the course content (i.e. whether it helped the respondent improve specific competencies or skills) National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, the Directors of Health Promotion and Education, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Referred to the EBPH texts, used the EBPH materials in planning a new programme, in modifying an existing programme, for grant applications, in searching the scientific literature for information on programmes, in evaluating a programme, to develop a rationale for a policy change, to convey the economic impact of a programme or policy, to prepare a policy briefing for administrators or state or local legislative officials, taught others how to use/apply the information in the EBPH course and to design and deliver an EBPH course of their own Results from the evaluation revealed that 90% of participants indicated that the course helped them make more informed decisions in the workplace. Respondents identified improvement in their ability to communicate with their coworkers and read reports Moderate
Waqa et al. (2013) [42] To empower policy-makers for formulating evidence-based policies to improve nutrition and physical activity Fiji Mix of qualitative and quantitative methods High-level officers (n = 49) Semi-structured interviews, questionnaire Government agencies and NGOs Four to six independent workshops for six projects; each workshop lasted 2–3 hours Some of the components of the policy, the policy cycle, how to access the evidence and scientific and research information, how to use evidence in policy-making were taught Governmental agencies and NGOs were invited to participate in the project, then one participant was selected from each organization. Finally, workshops were conducted Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) on an Australian Development Research Awards grant Active participation of knowledge brokers, skills in EIPM and policy development, EIPM capacity Active participation of the members in the workshops, formulation of policy briefs on the basis of the lessons learned showed that the workshops were effective Good
Waters et al. (2011) [43] To identify feasible, acceptable and ideally, effective knowledge translation strategies to increase evidence-informed decision-making in local governments Australia and New Zealand A cluster-randomized controlled trial The decision-makers Telephone calls, analytical statistics Victorian local governments (n = 45) Workshop Access to research evidence, critical evaluation tools The programme would run for 2 years. Weekly training sessions were conducted for participants National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Access to research evidence, confidence using research evidence, organizational culture for evidence-informed decision-making, influence of research evidence on public health decisions, usefulness of research evidence in decisions NR Moderate
Uneke et al. (2017) [44] To reduce the gap between researchers and policy-makers in order to facilitate evidence-based decision-making and policy-making according to national health priorities Nigeria An exploratory investigation with a quantitative cross-sectional survey technique National and local health policy-makers and decision-makers Questionnaire, descriptive statistics Ebonyi State Ministry of Health (ESMoH) Workshops Evaluation of the six policy briefs about evidence and information, financing, service delivery, medical technologies and products, health workforce, governance and leadership Understand policy-makers’ evidence need, play expert advisory role and provide scientific evidence to guide policy issues, provide capacity enhancement for policy-makers United Nations Children's Fund (UNCICEF)/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases Researcher and policy-maker collaboration in EIPM The outcome of this study clearly suggests that secondment has great potential in promoting EIPM and merits further consideration Good
Uneke et al. (2012) [29] To increase the capacity of the health policy advisory committee and empower the committee members with the necessary skills for evidence-based decision-making and knowledge translation Conducting the implementation of the health policy advisory committee Mix of qualitative and quantitative methods Directors from the health ministry (n = 9), senior researchers (n = 5), a director in the local government service commission, and two executive directors of health-based NGOs (n = 2) Six workshops and face-to-face discussions policy dialogues Ebonyi State Health Policy Advisory Committee (ESHPAC) Face-to-face training Advisory committee members, national and local health policy-makers and stakeholders, decision-makers, researchers Using the support tool and applying the evidence-based networking, empowerment of assistant professors in a 3-month programme by the state university, developing a policy brief to improve government performance on maternal and child care programmes, implementing the policy dialogue between policy-makers and other stakeholders related to maternal and child care programmes WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research   The results of the training evaluations showed that decision-makers had increased awareness of the importance of using evidence to promote the use of research evidence at the Ministry of Health. The gap between researchers and policy-makers was also narrowed Moderate
  1. NR not reported