Evidence-based health policymaking in Iraqi Kurdistan: Facilitators and barriers from the perspectives of policymakers and advisors
Keywords:Health policy, Kurdistan region, Erbil, Iraq
Background and objective: Evidence from research is underutilized in policy and practice in the majority of developing countries including Iraq. This aim of this study was to assess the role of research in health policy making in Iraqi Kurdistan context and identify the main barriers and facilitators for enhancing such role.
Methods: This cross-sectional survey was carried out between November 2013 and March 2014 in the three governorates of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, Erbil, Duhok and Sulaimaniyah. The study participants included 10 key health informants and three health advisors. Two types of combined questionnaires for health policy makers and health advisors were used for data collection.
Results: Conferences and seminars were the main sources of scientific evidences identified by health policymakers (80%), followed by consultants (70%). Different jargons/discourse was the main obstacle in consulting researchers (90%), followed by lack of tradition in collaborating (70%). Collection of specialists/advisors, followed by professional associations, scientific committees and international organizations/UN agencies were the main groups identified by health advisors to build bridges between the scientific community and policymakers.
Conclusion: Policymakers very rarely consult researchers directly in their decision making. There is poor networking among researchers, policy-makers, practitioners and representatives from civil society which has its negative impact on evidence-based policymaking. There is obviously a lack of any sort of program of funded research that can inform policymaking.
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