Improving the science and evidence base of disaster response (2) Evidence in Health Policy Decision Making

8 May, 2019

Dear HIFA colleagues,

I am very elated to have read the article Claire just sent: "Improving the science and evidence base of disaster response: a policy research study Jillson et al. BMC Health Services Research (2019) 19:274 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-019-4102-5"

It is so timely and puts to the forefront topical issues facing countries like Cameroon.

In fact, since the Second Cameroonian Days of Mental Health that were held in Yaoundé from the 25th to the 26th September 2018, I have been working and advocating for the use of evidence in health policy decision making. It follows it is a complex yet very necessary thing to do.

I made for example during these Second Days a presentation on: Healthcare Information For All (HIFA) How can healthcare information and mental healthcare information be made available and accessible in humanitarian crisis? The Case of Cameroon. It is necessary to say and I was not surprised to have a surprised audience. Surprised because the use of evidence is not common and thoughts of using it absent.

The present humanitarian crisis in Cameroon which is unique because of its complexities requires strategies which were not used before and which research and field work should document. During my presentation I exposed the vaste work done by Evidence Aid and the humanitarian week that was coming then. I know it might take time in my context but I know as well it will be very cost effective making evidence to be used in all aspects of health care.

Even though important work has been done by Prof Pierre Ongolo-Zogo on the use of evidence in the Cameroonian healthcare system and Knowledge Translation platforms in Cameroon, there seems not to any other work done. Most is there enough awareness and political will to make evidence a tool for health policy decision making. The paucity of research in this area and cultural issues relating to knowledge management are affecting Cameroon's health performance.

This calls again for the extraordinary role HIFA can have to enable LMICs to be at least sensitive to health information. Cameroon is so fortunate though to have received full support from the Ministry of Health to Promote the HIFA vision.

It is inline with this that from the 24th to the 25th April 2019, I organized a two day training workshop on: the access and use of mental health information for evidence-informed (mental) healthcare policy decision making in Cameroon: the case of the south west region.

It was the opportunity to expose to the 12 health policy makers the available evidence platforms and help them build skills and competences in the use of evidence in (mental) health policy decision making when confronted to public health problems. It should be said and it was not a surprise, they had never heard of evidence-based informed policy decision making before.

Specifically, the need in Cameroon, in the humanitarian areas to use evidence has to be made part of health interventions. This is an urgent imperative and calls for a certain form of responsibility of all stakeholders involved in health and mental health development.

The question I asked during the Second Cameroonian Days of Mental Health still holds:

Healthcare Information For All (HIFA): How can healthcare information and mental healthcare information be made available and accessible in humanitarian crisis? The Case of Cameroon.

Kindest regards,

Didier Demassosso

Mental Health Expert

HIFA Country Representative For Cameroon

HIFA Country representative of the year 2014

MHIN Africa Knowledge Exchange volunteer assistant

Member of the African Evidence Network (AEN)

Cameroon Human Right Fellow 2017

Vonlunteer at the International Association For Counselling

http://www.hifa.org

Tel :(237) 670-14-01-23/694-90-20-29

twitter: DDemassosso

skype: Didier Demassosso

linkedin.com/in/didier-demassosso

HIFA Profile: Didier Demassossois a School Counsellor at the Ministry of Secondary Education in Cameroon. HIFA Country Representative For Cameroon/HIFA Country Represenative of the year 2014 and Mental Health Worker. Professional interests: Health Promotion, Mental Health Promotion, School mental health promotion, School health promotion, Mobile Health, Mental health, Public health, Public mental health, Trauma, Environment,the mind, ICT, Culture, Adolescent/Child health, Maternal health. He is a HIFA Country Representative.

http://www.hifa.org/people/country-representatives/map

http://www.hifa.org/support/members/didier

Email: didier.demassosso AT gmail.com