Dear HIFA colleagues,
As The Lancet Global Health celebrates its 10th birthday (and The Lancet itself celebrates 200 years), it is 'We believe it is committing 'to create more space for implementation science in global health journals because we need the science of delivery (of evidence-based interventions) as much as the science of discovery'. Please see citation, extract and a comment from me below.
CITATION: Editorial| volume 11, issue 12, e1827, december 2023
Implementing implementation science in global health
The Lancet Global Health
Open Access Published:December, 2023
'Nonetheless, the progress of implementation science has been slow in the last decade, possibly due to the following impediments. First, implementation science can fail to close the research-to-practice gap, since the actual uptake of implementation knowledge by practitioners is low. To pass the knowledge from implementation scientists to practitioners, it must begin with the most relevant research question based on contextual experience. This contextual experience can only come from meaningful engagement with and leadership by community stakeholders and researchers based in the location of study. Only relevant, practical, accessible knowledge will find its way to a sustainable uptake in the communities where it is needed...'
COMMENT (NPW): 'Only relevant, practical, accessible knowledge will find its way to a sustainable uptake in the communities where it is needed...' This echoes a recurring theme on HIFA, most recently expressed a few days ago by Lucie Byrne-Davies: "We need to focus on what that information is and how it is presented" and my reply in agreement: "information should not only be accurate and up to date, it should also be unbiased and reflect, as far as possible, the cumulative evidence based on robust research; it should clearly be in the right language, technical level, and format; it should be relevant and applicable to the person’s immediate situation (which is always changing); and the person should be empowered to differentiate it from the barrage of misinformation that does not fulfil these criteria".
This goes way beyond asking the 'right' research questions through 'meaningful engagement with and leadership by community stakeholders and researchers'. The latter can only address one relatively small part of the global evidence ecosystem. The central issue is a lack of leadership, and consequent lack of political and financial support, to strengthen that system using a whole-systems perspective. WHO is best placed to champion this and HIFA will support. We can't do it alone.
HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org