Background: Oman has prioritised enhanced efforts for supporting evidence-informed policymaking (EIPM), including establishing a knowledge translation department in the Omani Ministry of Health (MOH).
Aim and objective: Our aim was to gather insights to guide the process of activating this department.
Methods: We conducted a document review and in-depth, semi-structured interviews with policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders who are familiar with the Omani system.
Findings: We conducted 17 interviews, which highlighted that policymakers in Oman use multiple sources of data and evidence to inform policymaking about health systems. However, several challenges to using evidence were identified, including low quality and limited availability of local evidence, system fragmentation, low interest in research, and lack of skills, capacity and time for finding, synthesising and using research evidence. Five possible activities for the department were refined with participants: building capacity, finding evidence, sparking action, embedding supports, and evaluating innovations. Participants viewed each of these activities as equally important and they should be pursued simultaneously. However, when asked to rank the most important option, participants identified capacity building as the most important to enable cultural changes needed within the MOH.
Discussion and conclusions: This study provides insights for activating the knowledge translation department in the Omani MOH. Fully operationalising the department will require convening a codesign process to reach consensus on the scope of the activities undertaken by the department. Implementation will also require capitalising on the relevant experience of highly qualified staff and existing infrastructure as well as continuing to foster a supportive climate for EIPM.