Sponsoring national processes for evidence-informed policy in the health sector of developing countries - Cameroon

Transition towards a health SWAp (Sector Wide Approach) in Cameroon: supporting evidence use for decentralization and district development

Cameroon adopted the primary healthcare approach (PHC) for the development of its decentralizing health sector. Facing the overlapping burden of tropical diseases, non-communicable diseases and poverty, the Cameroonian health sector has, since 2001, been undergoing reform to reorient its PHC approach. The call for evidence-informed decision-making has been routinely underlined as a core need.

This project aims to foster the use of relevant strategic information and HSPR-based evidence to inform a health sector transitioning towards a sector-wide approach (SWAp). Specifically, the project will provide stakeholders with the needed skills to use evidence and support in reforming health services organisation, district governance, health insurance, decentralization, contractualization, and community participation - in particular as they might apply to fight malaria. This will be done in collaboration with the Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria, a civil society organization.

The project aims to:

  • Strengthen the Technical Secretariat of the SFC HSS to demand, access, assess and use strategic information in order to better its role of policy and management advisory unit;
  • Build local human capacity in evidence-to-policy activities - mainly among senior staff from Ministries with health-related activities and Provincial Delegates for Public Health. This will provide them with the needed skills to identify, access, assess, demand and apply evidence in their decision-making process;
  • Collect and filter relevant HSPR-based evidence on district development and develop policy briefs in such domains as community health insurance, community participation, contractualization of performance, community-directed interventions, integration of health services, district governance, health services organization;
  • Collect and package relevant routine health management information such as epidemiologic trends of the five leading causes of morbidity and mortality in three provinces in a user friendly format to be distributed to civil society organizations, to administrative and traditional authorities, and to members of governing bodies of health districts in order to enable them to effectively play their role;
  • Disseminate user-friendly evidence summaries to a group of 600 key actors including technical advisors in ministries in charge of health, social affairs, economy and finances, senior staff from the Provincial Governor’s office, Health staff at the provincial level and District Medical Officers, and others;
  • Organize three separate deliberative forums on health insurance, malaria control interventions and contractualization of district performance. These forums will bring together stakeholders from ministries, civil societies organization, scientists, private healthcare organizations, representatives from technical and financial partners of the health sector and health professionals associations;
  • Provide the Technical Secretariat of the SFCHSS with eight policy briefs on relevant strategic policy options of national interest during the transitioning towards SWAp for district development and decentralization within the PHC framework;
  • Pilot utilization of relevant HI and HSPR-based evidence to enhance malaria control activities by building a stronger ownership of policy options among all malaria-control stakeholders (health professionals, representatives from administrations, healthcare providers, scientists, medias, parliamentarians, industrials, communities representatives);
  • Develop and operate a bilingual clearinghouse providing access to electronic versions of the deliverables of the project including but not limited to training materials on evidence-to-policy, eight policy briefs, report from the three deliberative forums and eight bulletins of health information but also links to research summaries and “evidence repository” on health systems and policy research as well on malaria.

If successfully implemented, this programme of work will:
• Help build a newly created knowledge translation/transfer centre in Cameroon;
• Strengthen institutional capacity of the technical secretariat of the SFC HSS to play its role of policy advisory board;
• Build human capacity of policy-makers in demanding, accessing, assessing and using HSPR-based evidence;
• Build human capacity within civil society organizations to better advocate for patients interest as well as representatives of the community in the dialogue structure at the district level;
• Encourage better interactions between administrative authorities;
• Help identify some priority areas of health system and policy research in a context of SWAp implementation;
• Improve malaria control activities.

Project description

Programme: Supporting national processes for evidence-informed policy in the health sector of developing countries

Research title: Transition towards a health SWAp (Sector Wide Approach) in Cameroon: supporting evidence use for decentralization and district development

Thematic Research Area: Evidence to Policy

Grantee Country: Cameroon

Grantee Institution: Center for the Development of Best Practices in Health – Yaoundé Central Hospital Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences – University of Yaoundé

Program Coordinator/Principle Investigator: Dr Pierre Ongolo-Zogo

Start date: March 2009

Status of grant: Completed (June 2011)

Related publications/policy briefs