Creating windows of opportunity for policy change: incorporating evidence into decentralized planning in Kenya
Lori S Ashford, Rhonda R Smith, Roger-Mark De Souza, Fariyal F Fikree, & Nancy V Yinger
Because researchers and policy-makers work in different spheres, policy decisions in the health arena are often not based on available scientific evidence.
We describe a model that illustrates the policy process and how to work strategically to translate knowledge into policy actions. Several types of activity — agenda-setting, coalition building and policy learning — together can create a window of opportunity for policy change.
Activities were undertaken as part of the Kenyan Ministry of Health’s new decentralized planning-process. The objective was to ensure that the results of a national assessment of health services were used in the preparation of district-level health plans.
Following the intervention, 70 district-level, evidence-based work plans were developed and approved by the Kenyan Ministry of Health.
Substantial investment and effort are needed to bring stakeholders together to work towards policy change. More in-depth evaluation of these efforts can aid understanding of how systematic approaches to policy change can be replicated elsewhere.