The health status of citizens can suffer when poorly considered policies and programs weaken or fail to strengthen health systems, and when health systems fail to ensure the safe, efficient, and equitable delivery of effective programs, services and drugs. A number of units around the world are experimenting with efforts to address the challenges of linking research evidence to policy about health systems. We call these units ’knowledge-translation (KT) platforms’ because they seek to convert the knowledge arising from research into the types of action on the ground that can mean the difference between life and death, or the difference between good health and bad health.
The “Evaluating Knowledge-Translation Platforms in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (KTPE)” project was initiated in 2009 to evaluate KT platforms that are being launched in municipalities (e.g., Beijing), countries (e.g., Mexico), and regions (e.g., east Africa) around the world. The study is describing what these KT platforms are doing, which of their efforts can be improved, and which combinations of their activities and outputs can be matched to particular contexts and (infra)structure in order to optimize desired outcomes and impact.
With financial support from the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools, we have developed a Procedures Manual to support monitoring and evaluation (M&E) teams in the participating jurisdictions. The methods and toolkits found in the Procedures Manual have been field tested in a number of jurisdictions in Africa, Asia and the Americas. The full suite of toolkits is available in English, French and Spanish, and some of them are also available in Arabic.
These methods and tools constitute a valuable resource for health-system leaders and researchers who are interested in promoting and evaluating supports to evidence-informed health systems (such as KT platforms), or who wish simply to undertake and evaluate a key activity of such platforms – for example a priority-setting process, a stakeholder dialogue on a priority health or health-system issue, or an evidence brief that mobilizes research evidence about a problem, options for addressing it, and key implementation considerations.
The Procedures Manual is available in four sections: Overview, Formative Evaluation, Annual Profile and Inventory, and Outcomes Evaluation. The Overview outlines the objectives of the KTPE study and the overall monitoring and evaluation plan, while each of the other sections offers a detailed description of the tasks and tools that teams in each KT platform jurisdiction will use.
The tools used in the Formative Evaluation, Annual Profile and Inventory, and the Outcomes Evaluation are included as appendices in the Procedures Manual. They are also available below in a series of eight toolkits.
Toolkit 1: Policy briefs | Toolkit 2: Policy dialogues | Toolkit 3: Priority-setting processes | Toolkit 4: T1 annual profile and inventory | Toolkit 5: Tracking requests for information and support | Toolkit 6: T2/T3/T4 annual profile and inventory | Toolkit 7: T1 outcomes survey | Toolkit 8: T2&3 outcomes survey
Funding for the KTPE study has been provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada Research Chair in Evidence-Informed Health Policies and Systems, Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, and the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Translation of the Procedures Manual and toolkits into French and Spanish was supported by the Pan American Health Organization and the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools, respectively, and translation of select toolkits into Arabic was undertaken by the Knowledge to Policy Center at the American University of Beirut.