Research-to-policy gap still a challenge in PH

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The Philippines should adopt policy-driven health priorities to better utilize the research being done in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) stressed in a recent forum.

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Although the country’s strong showing in a recent study by the Brookings Institution indicated the Philippines has a good environment for medical research and development, there is still a gap in translating research into policy, current and former DOH officials said at the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) 35th Anniversary Research to Policy Forum held last month.

Dr. Gloria Nenita Velasco, Medical Officer IV of the Department of Health – Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau, cited limited research production due to poor data collection and limited funds; low research credibility due to poor evidence; and limited appreciation of research to policy impacts as challenges affecting research uptake as challenges the government and healthcare sectors are still facing in translating research outcomes to effective policy.

Velasco suggested that health priorities should be policy-driven to ensure that health research would be utilized through policy implementation. Research co-production and increased support for evidence-based research were also cited as strategies to effectively turn research into concrete policies.

Apart from data and findings, Dr. Fely Marilyn E. Lorenzo, former Professor of the Department of Health Policy and Administration of the University of the Philippines Manila said that policy documents must be able to capture the views and wishes of the beneficiaries, as well as opinions of the researchers and testimonials. Effective policy research must be problem-driven, multi-dimensional, flexible, and strongly evidence-based, she stressed.

On the issue of policy adoption as a major challenge in implementing research-based policies, “It’s always prudent to consult with stakeholders/end-users,” said Dr. Lorenzo.

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