- Dr Bey-Marrié Schmidt
- Dr Nasreen Jessani (Co-PI, Centre for Evidence-based Health Care, Stellenbosch University)
01 September 2021 – 31 August 2024
The South African government in 2019 accepted the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill as a critical step in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The NHI Bill seeks to achieve UHC by creating one public health fund with adequate resources to plan for and effectively meet the health needs of the entire population. Activities to implement the NHI Bill are currently underway and have resulted in an increased demand for research evidence on the effectiveness, costs, feasibility and acceptability of health interventions.
Knowledge Translation Platforms (KTPs) are increasingly popular as they can support evidence-informed decision-making by providing relevant and timely research evidence and they bridge the gap between research, policy and practice. KTPs are therefore organisations, initiatives or networks that facilitate knowledge exchange, dialogue and capacity strengthening between researchers and health decision-makers (e.g. patients, advocacy groups, health professionals, healthcare managers and policy-makers). There are several KTPs in South Africa (that self-identify as such or not) that can enhance the translation, uptake and use of research evidence to support UHC policy and practice decision-making.
However, there is a need to explore the full potential of KTPs as interventions that can help achieve UHC by bridging health research into policy and practice. A systematic synthesis of the literature on the characteristics of KTPs is needed in order to develop a matrix for mapping and evaluating KTPs, comparing types and identifying areas of improvement. The matrix alongside a longitudinal qualitative study can provide explanations and interpretations of how and why KTPs work, for whom, under what circumstances, and how they can be strengthened. A longitudinal qualitative study, underpinned by a participatory action research approach, can provide in-depth insights into the leadership, organisational structures and sustainability of KTPs, as well as enhance collaborations between researchers and decision-makers and point out and explain pathways to influencing health policy and practice. Therefore, the overall goal of this project is to understand and strengthen KTPs in supporting UHC-related policy and practice in South Africa.