“Points to ponder for researchers in hitting the broader perspectives of evidence-informed policy”
- My experience of involvement in three research studies that focused tropical diseases (multiple helminth infections, dengue and Japanese Encephalitis) [1-3] has generated the requirement for extended scope of evidence-informed health policy at the central level. Three themes are emanated for consideration of researchers: hierarchical health care infrastructure, multiple stakeholder networks and transdisciplinary model.
- The scope of evidence-informed policy in health sector depends on the best available research evidence to leverage the impact of the action plan by engaging the different levels of decision-makers (central level, local level) and collaborative partners.
- In the resource-constrained settings of lower and middle income countries (LMIC), researchers are able to promote the utilisation of policy-linked research findings through strengthening of scientifically sound and ethically competent research works from the outset. Besides, it is critical to choose the health priorities, the appropriate study context and collaborative approaches.
- The quality of deliverables as an input for evidence-informed policy depends on the capacity of researchers at every stage of research and the stringent assessment of funding agencies by filtering low quality proposals.
- The Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization (WHO/TDR) funded implementation research (small grant) on multiple helminth infections in flooded rural areas in collaboration with Township Health Department highlighted the necessity of extended scope of evidence-informed health policy in form of rural development policy to mitigate the targeted health problem .
- The intervention study (implementation research) in controlling dengue vector breeding sites in peri-urban areas  funded by WHO/TDR and IDRC pointed out the involvement of multiple stakeholder networks (administrative authorities, education sector, municipal authorities for urban water supply and refuse disposal) apart from community members. Notably, the scope and impact of evidence-informed health policy needs to cover multiple sectors such as intensification of preventive guidelines in urban wards and schools to control dengue vector breeding sites and enhancing urban continuous water supply policy and regular refuse collection system and policy of municipal authorities.
- The operational research study on Japanese Encephalitis confined to secondary data from program records and a survey database of health service provider perceptions. This research was conducted through the Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT), a global partnership led by WHO/TDR. The training program, within which this paper was developed, was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), London, UK. Salient findings that includes the necessity to take into account of pig vaccination to be carried out in collaboration with the veterinarian sector clearly outlines the encroachment of evidence-based health policy for one health intervention guidelines and policy.
1. Han, K. T., Wai, K. T., Aye, K. H. et.al (2019). Emerging neglected helminthiasis and determinants of multiple helminth infections in flood-prone township in Myanmar. Tropical medicine and Health, 47, 1. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41182-018-0133-6
2. Wai, K. T., Htun, P. T., Oo, T. et. al (2012). Community-centred eco-bio-social approach to control dengue vectors: an intervention study from Myanmar. Pathogens and global health, 106(8), 461468. https://doi.org/10.1179/2047773212Y.0000000057
3. Win, A.Y.N., Wai, K.T., Harries, A.D. et al. The burden of Japanese encephalitis, the catch-up vaccination campaign, and health service providers’ perceptions in Myanmar: 2012–2017. Trop Med Health 48, 13 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41182-020-00200-3
HIFA profile: Khin Thet Wai is a former Director at the Department of Medical Research, Myanmar. She is a medical doctor and holds the Master’s degree in Public Health from Institute of Medicine, Yangon and has a second Master’s degree conferred by the Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, Thailand. She is a dedicated public health researcher specializing Epidemiology and Health Policy and Systems Research.
khinthetwaidmr AT gmail.com