Assessing the implementation and influence of policies that support research and innovation systems for health: the cases of Mozambique, Senegal, and Tanzania

Mugwagwa, Julius; Edwards, Daniel and de Haan, Sylvia (2015). Assessing the implementation and influence of policies that support research and innovation systems for health: the cases of Mozambique, Senegal, and Tanzania. Health Research Policy and Systems, 13(21)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12961-015-0010-2

Abstract

Background
Without good policies it will be difficult to provide guidance to research and innovation systems. However, policies need to be followed through and implemented to have the desired effect. We studied the policies and strategies in place to support research and innovation systems for health in Mozambique, Senegal, and Tanzania, and looked at the extent to which these policies and strategies have been implemented.

Methods
We reviewed documents and reports and conducted in-depth interviews with 16 key informants representing various actors of the national research for health systems.

Results
The results illustrate that there are various policies and strategies governing research and innovation for health in the three countries. However, implementation of these policies and strategies is generally rated as being poor. The reasons highlighted for this include lack of policy coherence, lack of enforcement and accountability mechanisms, and a lack of financing for implementing the policies. These contextual factors seem to be of such importance that even the increased stakeholder involvement and political leadership, as mentioned by the interviewees, cannot guarantee policy implementation.

Conclusions
We conclude that due to the contextual realities of the study countries, there is need for greater focus on policy implementation than on developing additional policies. Government institutions should play a central role in all stages of the policy process, and should ensure implementation of defined policies. Strong mechanisms, including financing, that strengthen the position and role of government in policy coordination and the oversight of the policy process will help increase efficient and impactful implementation of research and innovation for health policies.

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