Research-to-Policy Partnerships for Evidence-Informed Resource Allocation in Health Systems in Africa: An Example Using the Thanzi Programme

Juliet Nabyonga-Orem, Edward Kataika, Alexandra Rollinger, Helen Louise Ann Weatherly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Empirical data on the impact of research-to-policy interventions are scant, with the few attempts mainly focusing
on ensuring policymakers’ timely access to evidence and evidence-informed dialogs.
Methods: This article reflects on how the Thanzi Programme cultivates an approach of research-to-policy engagement in
health economics. The program is structured around 3 interrelated pillars comprising research evidence generation,
capacity and capability building, and research-and-policy engagement. Each pillar is described and examples from the
Thanzi Programme are given, including illustrating how each pillar informs the other. Limitations and challenges of the
approach are discussed, with examples of a way forward.
Results: This program supports health system strengthening through addressing gaps identified by program partners. This
includes providing health economics training and research and strengthened partnerships between in-country researchers
and health policymakers, as well as between national and international researchers. Platforms bringing together
researchers and policymakers to shape the research agenda, disseminate evidence, and foster an evidence-based dialog
are institutionalized at country and regional levels. Health Economics and Policy Units have been established, which sit
between the Ministries of Health and Universities, to augment policymakers and health economics researchers’
engagements on priority health policy matters and determine researchable policy questions. The establishment of the
Health Economics Community of Practice as a substantive expert committee under the East Central and Southern Africa
Health Community bolsters the contribution of health economics evidence in policy processes at the regional level.
Conclusions: The Thanzi Programme is an example of how a research-and-policy partnership framework is being used to
support evidence-informed health resource allocation decisions in Africa. It uses a combination of high-quality
multidisciplinary research, sustained research and policymakers’ engagement and capacity strengthening to use research
evidence to guide and support policy makers more effectively.
Keywords: capacity building, health economics, knowledge translation, north-south partnership, research-to-policy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-30
JournalValue in Health Regional Issues
Early online date15 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • capacity building, health economics, knowledge translation, north-south partnership, research-to-policy engagement.

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