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Decision makers and the usefulness of research evidence in policy implementation: a case study from Lao PDR

  • Kristina Jönsson
  • Göran Tomson
  • Chanthakhath Paphassarang
  • Rolf Wahlström
  • Keonakon Houamboun
  • Kongsap Akkhavong
Publiceringsår: 2005
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 1291-1299
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Social Science and Medicine
Volym: 61
Nummer: 6
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Elsevier


The involvement of researchers in the policy process and policy-makers in research is little studied, particularly in developing countries. In 1993, the Lao National Drug Policy (NDP) was endorsed in a consultative process involving many stakeholders. Lao People's Democratic Republic is a poor country in South East Asia. Five pilot provinces were selected for implementation of the policy, which had a health system research (HSR) component. This case study explores decision-makers' knowledge and attitudes regarding the usefulness of HSR in the NDP implementation process. Ninety decision-makers from different health institutions including hospitals, medical schools and main drug suppliers were surveyed using a self-administrated structured questionnaire, filled in during a NDP conference in 2001. Results from six HSR projects related to the NDP implementation had been presented during the conference, but also 6 months previously and through written reports. There were 75 respondents (83% of attendees, 90% of whom were men), 39% with medical, 50% with pharmacy and 11% with other background. Ninety-eight percent of the participants found operational research useful, and 87% supported it to be an element of the NDP. Two-thirds knew the objectives of the NDP. There was no significant difference in knowledge and attitudes between pilot and non-pilot provinces and between professions. Ninety-two percent were aware of the Essential Drug List, and 88% found it adequate to drug need. Ninety-seven percent agreed with generic drug prescribing. Seventy percent reported to have heard about Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP), but only a few could explain it. Although most participants agreed that HSR should be one main component of the NDP and found HSR results useful, few had heard about them before the conference, and research was not well understood. The paper discusses various factors influencing decision-makers' perceptions of usefulness of research in this case during the NDP implementation process. It is concluded that the acceptance of research and major NDP concepts probably is a result of close interaction between researchers and policy-makers and that the interface between research and policy-making needs further studies. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • policy-making
  • Lao PDR
  • research
  • health systems
  • national drug policy
  • decision-makers
  • case study


  • ISSN: 1873-5347

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