In Malawi’s highly resource-constrained health sector, it is critical to improve the health and economic status of the country by using policies that are evidence based. It is important, therefore, that decisions about allocation and prioritization of public funds are taken on the basis of robust research and economic evidence that has been objectively synthesized and transparently considered. Over the past five years, several initiatives on Knowledge Translation have developed in Malawi with emerging expertise across the spectrum of evidence-informed health policy and practice. The absence of a national body to link these initiatives seems to threaten their effectiveness towards collective decision-making.
The College of Medicine, University of Malawi engaged in a series of consultations with various stakeholders in the evidence-informed decision making to carry out an initial mapping of organizations on their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT); outline the steps in the generation and use of research and ultimately establish a national network for evidence-informed decision-making in health policy and practice in Malawi.
A detailed 10-year road map for implementing evidence informed decision-making in health was developed highlighting steps involved in the generation and use of research evidence for decision-making. In addition, a map of key active stakeholders involved in evidence-informed policy and practice including the Ministry of Health was outlined. An Evidence Informed Decision-making Network (EvIDeNt) for health Policy and Practice in Malawi was formed after consultative meetings to address key hurdles in effective formulation of evidence informed health decisions and strengthen cross-linking and coordination between the promising initiatives.