It is argued that it is possible to influence policy for sexual and reproductive health. Yet health researchers and programme managers should not assume that facts will speak for themselves. We need to undertake political analysis; to understand the ideas, interests, and institutions operating within a particular policy context; and to choose appropriate strategies and tactics to ensure the implementation of evidence-based health interventions. Such tasks should not be seen as peripheral additions to the enterprise of evidence generation but rather as fundamental to advancement of sexual and reproductive health. This undertaking calls for investigators, programme managers, or their supporting funding agencies, to disseminate best practice through advocacy coalitions that are broadly constituted. However, for research to achieve maximum effect, policy networks need the means and capacity to understand the decision-making environments. Support for such political work should be viewed as a new priority for donors.
K. Buse, A. Martin-Hilber, N. Widyantoro, S. J. Hawkes. Management of the politics of evidence-based sexual and reproductive health policy. Lancet (2006) 368 (9552) 2101-2103. [DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(06)69837-1]