Health Policy and Systems Research in Twelve Eastern Mediterranean Countries: a stocktaking of production and gaps (2000-2008)
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BACKGROUND: The objectives of this study are to: (1) profile the production of Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) published between 2000 and 2008 in 12 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR): Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen; (2) identify gaps; and (3) assess the extent to which existing HPSR produced in the region addresses regional priorities pertaining to Health Financing, Human Resources for Health and the Role of the Non-State Sector. This is the first stocktaking paper of HPSR production and gaps in the EMR. METHODS: Articles indexed on Medline between years 2000 and 2008 for the 12 study countries were selected. A MeSH term based search was conducted using country names. Articles were assessed using a coding sheet adapted for the region which included themes on: Governance Arrangements, Financial Arrangements, Delivery Arrangements, and Implementation Strategies. Identified articles were matched against regional research priorities to assess the extent to which research production aligns with priorities. RESULTS: A total of 1,487 articles (11.94%) fit the criteria in the coding sheet. Results showed an increase in HPSR production which peaked after 2005. Most identified articles focused on Delivery Arrangements (68.1%), and Implementation Strategies (24.4%). Most HPSR addressed priorities in Human Resources for Health (39%), and some articles focused on Health Financing (12%) and Role of the Non-State Sector (6.1%). CONCLUSIONS: Despite global calls for producing and translating HPSR into policy, there are still significant gaps in the EMR. More efforts are needed to produce HPSR and align production and translation with the demand for evidence by policymakers. Findings can help inform and direct future plans and activities for the Evidence Informed Policy Network- EMR, World Health Organization- EMR, and the Middle East and North Africa Health Policy Forum, in addition to being useful for countries that host or are planning to host KT platforms in the region.
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