This paper examines the dissemination and uptake of health research into policy and program delivery in four developing countries: Malawi, Tanzania, India and Pakistan. In-depth interviews were conducted with health researchers, policymakers and practitioners at both local and national level. The study highlights the similarities across the study countries in the barriers to effective dissemination and uptake of research results. A fundamental barrier to the uptake of research by decision-makers is the lack of appreciation of the important contribution that research can make to policy and program development. A further barrier is researcher's lack of appropriate 'packaging' of research findings which consider the needs of different policy audiences. Dissemination within academic circles also restricts access by decision-makers and practitioners. Overcoming the barriers requires effort on behalf of researchers, decision-makers and donor agencies. The strong presence of donor agencies in developing countries places them in a position to both enable and to encourage dissemination activities and communication between researchers and policymakers or practitioners. Increased collaboration between all three parties is one of the key strategies towards increasing the uptake of research into health policy and program development.
Opportunities and Choices Working Paper No. 9, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK, 37 pp.