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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686


ASHFORD, Lori S et al. Creating windows of opportunity for policy change: incorporating evidence into decentralized planning in Kenya. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2006, vol.84, n.8, pp.669-672. ISSN 0042-9686.

PROBLEM: Because researchers and policy-makers work in different spheres, policy decisions in the health arena are often not based on available scientific evidence. APPROACH: We describe a model that illustrates the policy process and how to work strategically to translate knowledge into policy actions. Several types of activity - agenda-setting, coalition building and policy learning - together can create a window of opportunity for policy change. LOCAL SETTING: Activities were undertaken as part of the Kenyan Ministry of Health's new decentralized planning-process. The objective was to ensure that the results of a national assessment of health services were used in the preparation of district-level health plans. RELEVANT CHANGES: Following the intervention, 70 district-level, evidence-based work plans were developed and approved by the Kenyan Ministry of Health. LESSONS LEARNED: Substantial investment and effort are needed to bring stakeholders together to work towards policy change. More in-depth evaluation of these efforts can aid understanding of how systematic approaches to policy change can be replicated elsewhere.

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