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IJHRS. 2019; 8(3): 120-131

Use of Evidence in Policy Development by Policy Makers and Evidence Generators at the Federal Ministry of Health, Khartoum – Sudan

Amal Abdelrahim Osman Mohamed, Zeinab Ibrahim Swareldahab, Leena Eklund Karlsson, Howeida Hassan Abusalih.


Background: Evidence informed policy is defined as an approach to decisions that ensure that decision making is informed by the best available research evidence. Evidence has a great impact on policy development and implementation especially in countries with scarce resources. Health systems research- evidence is not always communicated effectively or in a timely manner.
Purpose: The Aim of this study is to explore the use of evidence in policy development among directors of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and the factors affecting evidence-generating bodies in Khartoum, Sudan 2016.
Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive qualitative exploratory study involving two groups: Decision makers who were the heads of the directorates involved in policy development and evidence generating bodies: the Public Health Institute, Sudan Health Observatory and the Institute of Endemic Diseases. Using purposive sampling of 17 personnel, in depth interviews were conducted. Data analysis was done through thematic framework analysis combined with the deductive approach.
Results: Knowledge, attitude and skills of the policy makers interviewed showed that all the interviewees had good knowledge and positive attitudes towards evidence even though obstacles, such as intervention from higher authorities, faced some decisions. This study identified many sources of evidence, such as research, reports, surveys, key informants, experts and stakeholders’ consensus; but obstacles arise when evidence is not timely available. Most of respondents generated evidence themselves and most departments collaborated with each other and with other entities to get evidence. However, working with others depended on personal relationship, otherwise the decision making process would be a lengthy process.
It was noted that local universities had no big role in generating evidence. There is no evidence generated by the Research department in FMoH, and the respondents pointed out that there are many obstacles regarding the implementation of the policy, such as high turnover of the staff, lack of skilled staff and unavailability of funds
Conclusions: There is a positive attitude towards the concept of evidence among decision makers. Many factors affect the use of evidence in policy and decision making in general. Joint mechanism should be developed to allow for the flow down of evidence between local researchers and universities and decision makers.

Key words: Keywords: Evidence, informed policy making, Evidenced based policy

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