Effective policymaking in health care requires a strong evidence base generated through best practice research. As Myanmar moves forward with the implementation of the National Health Plan and the goal to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030, the ability to draw on existing national and global research and commission new research to inform and guide policymaking will be a crucial component in the success of these initiatives and Myanmar’s longer term health systems strengthening objectives. Community Partners International (CPI) is working collaboratively with a broad group of key stakeholders to strengthen the evidence base for health policymaking in Myanmar.
On April 24 and 25, 2018, the National Health Plan Implementation Monitoring Unit (NIMU) of the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports (MoHS), Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and CPI hosted a second workshop dedicated to exploring ways to strengthen and formalize the links between national health policymaking and research. Titled, ‘Knowledge Brokers and the Application for Evidence-Based Policy Decision-Making’, the workshop brought together representatives of MoHS, international health research experts and non-governmental organizations working in the health sector in Myanmar to identify and propose ‘knowledge broker’ mechanisms that can support increased coordination between policymakers and researchers.
During the workshop, participants explored different models of knowledge broker systems and considered possible structures that might suit the Myanmar context. Discussions encompassed the process of formation, composition, and operating structure of a Knowledge Broker Organization (KBO), the criteria for inclusion in a KBO Core Group, and the range of external stakeholders that could play supporting roles.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Thuang Hlaing, Deputy Director General of the Department of Public Health, MoHS, stated that the workshop was an important step in the ‘efforts to bridge the gap and work together to design and implement research that creates data useful to policy makers and that can inform evidence-based policy decision making.’ He emphasized that, ‘Our intention for this workshop is to strengthen our understanding of knowledge broker systems and use our experience and expertise to develop a proposed plan for such a system in this country.’
At the close of the workshop, participants reached a provisional consensus on the type of knowledge broker system that could be suitable for the Myanmar context. They also developed a first draft of the steps and requirements for the formation of the system to be shared at a later date with MoHS and other stakeholders for consultation and input. A report will be submitted to MoHS due course for comments and guidance.
The workshop received additional funding support from USAID and the Three Millennium Development Goal Fund (3MDG).