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Malar J. 2013 Aug 5;12:274. doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-12-274.

Translating health research evidence into policy and practice in Uganda.

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School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences-Makerere University & Commissioner Health Services, Ministry of Health, Box 7272, Kampala, Uganda.



Uganda experiences a high disease burden of malaria, infectious and non-communicable diseases. Recent data shows that malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among all age groups, while HIV prevalence is on the increase and there is re-emergence of viral haemorrhagic fevers and cholera epidemics. In order to respond to the above situation, a team of researchers, policy makers, civil society and the media was formed in order to build a collaboration that would help in discussing appropriate strategies to mitigate the high disease burden in Uganda.


A preparatory secretariat composed of individuals from Ministry of Health, Malaria Research Centre and School of Public Health was formed. The secretariat identified researchers, key resource persons to guide the workshops and the format for presentation. The criteria for selection of the research topics were: National public health importance and had been published in peer-reviewed journals. The presentations were structured as follows: research questions, hypotheses, methodology, major findings and policy implications. The secretariat compiled all the proceedings of the workshops including attendance, address of participants including telephone and email contacts. During the last workshop, an evaluation was conducted to assess the impact of the workshops.


Four workshops were held between 2006 and 2009. A total of 322 participants attended of whom mid-level policy makers, researchers and the media were consistently high. The workshops generated a lot of interest that lead to presentation and discussion of nationally relevant health research results. The workshops had an impact on the participants' skills in writing policy briefs, participating in the policy review process and entering into dialogue with policy makers.


The following lessons have been learned: getting health research into policy is feasible but requires few self-motivated individuals to act as catalysts. Adequate funding and a stable internet are necessary to support the process. Mid-level policy makers and programme managers had interest in this initiative and are likely sustain it as they move to senior positions in policy making.

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