The People-Centred Approach to Policymaking: Re-Imagining Evidence-Based Policy in Nigeria

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Global Implementation Research and Applications



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The discourse on evidence-based policymaking in healthcare continues to explore sustainable solutions to current and emerging challenges. However, what constitutes evidence in health policymaking needs to be defined and agreed upon, especially in places with several forms of knowledge and ways of knowing. Researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders must understand the value of people-centred approaches to health policies, given the increased focus on equitable distribution of power and resources for sustained health outcomes. This paper argues that people’s values, lived experiences, and opinions are not always adequately considered when formulating health policies, especially in countries with diverse cultural and social norms. A country, like Nigeria, with many health challenges requires health policies based on contextual knowledge, given the country’s diverse lived experiences and values. Implementation researchers note that to ensure the adoption of evidence-based policies, researchers and implementers must intentionally incorporate elements for successful implementation into the planning and formulation of policies. Evidence shows that the policy development process in public health does not always adequately capture informal knowledge in the policy formulation process. With the lack of data on the role of informal knowledge in policymaking, Nigerian researchers could begin to examine the potential benefits these types of knowledge could have on policies. Future research could explore, and document experiences and lessons learned from other fields to apply these to public health.

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