Facilitating factors and barriers to malaria research utilization for policy development in Malawi

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    BACKGROUND : Research on various determinants of health is key in providing evidence for policy development, thereby leading to successful interventions. Utilization of research is an intricate process requiring an understanding of contextual factors. The study was conducted to assess enhancing factors and barriers of research utilization for malaria policy development in Malawi. METHODS : Qualitative research approach was used through in-depth interviews with 39 key informants that included malaria researchers, policy makers, programme managers, and key stakeholders. Purposive sampling and snowballing techniques were used in identifying key informants. Interview transcripts were entered in QSR Nvivo 11 software for coding and analysis. RESULTS : Respondents identified global efforts as key in advancing knowledge translation, while local political will has been conducive for research utilization. Other factors were availability of research, availability of diverse local researchers and stakeholders supporting knowledge translation. While barriers included: lack of platforms for researcher-public engagement, politics, researchers’ lack of communication skills, lack of research collaborations, funder driven research, unknown World Health Organization policy position, and the lack of a malaria research repository. CONCLUSION : Overall, the study identified facilitating factors to malaria research utilization for policy development in Malawi. These factors need to be systematically coordinated to address the identified barriers and improve on malaria research utilization in policy development. Malaria research can be key in the implementation of evidence-based interventions to reduce the malaria burden and assist in the paradigm shift from malaria control to elimination in Malawi.