Evidence, policies and practices: continuities and discontinuities in mental health promotion in a developing country

SOURCE: International Journal of Mental Health Promotion
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2004
TITLE AUTHOR(S): L.Swartz, M.Tomlinson, M.Landman
KEYWORDS: EVIDENCE, HEALTH SERVICES, MENTAL HEALTH, POLICY FORMULATION
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Development (HSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 2432

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Abstract

The relationship between research evidence, policy and implementation is complex throughout the world, but where resources are scarce (especially in developing countries) there is a need to ensure rational implementation. With reference to a study on which we work, we show how the simple act of conducting research where resources are lacking affects implementability. We discuss five key issues with which researchers must engage is they wish to affect policy and implementation: evidence is not the only criterion by which implementation decisions are made, implementation decisions are often political rather than health-oriented in the narrow sense, there is often a difference in time scale between research enterprises and policy implementation, moving from research to the "real world" requires engagement with existing organisational systems, and we need to be able to tell the difference between changes in rhetoric and changes in the real world. The broad international context of funding and the scientific community also affect how researchers work in developing countries. We suggest that engagement with these apparently "non-scientific" concerns is essential to the work of researchers.