Member countries of EVIPNet Europe report on achievements and demonstrate impact of promoting evidence-informed policy-making

Marcela Ţîrdea (Republic of Moldova), Vitaliy Koikov (Kazakhstan) and Balázs Babarczy (Hungary) present their knowledge translation activities under the umbrella of EVIPNet Europe.

During a workshop organized on the occasion of the 10th European Public Health Conference, 5 member countries of the Evidence-informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) Europe – Estonia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland and the Republic of Moldova – presented their activities and achievements in promoting evidence-informed policy-making. The Conference took place on 1–4 November 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden.

The WHO Secretariat of EVIPNet Europe, operating under the umbrella of the European Health Information Initiative, organized the workshop in collaboration with the European Public Health Association sections on health services research and public health practices and policy.

The objective of the workshop was to showcase EVIPNet’s country-level knowledge-translation activities. Knowledge translation is the process of fostering the systematic and transparent use of research in policy-making. It contributes to ensuring evidence-informed national health policy-making, which leads to stronger health systems and better health outcomes.

Claudia Stein, Director of the Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation at WHO/Europe, opened the session. Tanja Kuchenmüller, interim Unit Leader of Knowledge Management, Evidence and Research for Policy-making in the Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation, co-chaired the session with Johan Hansen, Senior Researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research.

From knowledge translation to policy impact

The country teams reported on their activities to promote evidence-informed policy-making at the national level. They also highlighted their achievements, which included the production of the following knowledge-translation products with the support of EVIPNet Europe:

  • 2 situation analyses to examine the national evidence-informed policy-making context;
  • 4 evidence briefs for policy to address country-specific high-priority public health issues; and
  • 1 policy dialogue to blend the evidence brief with tacit knowledge from key stakeholders.

The workshop also demonstrated EVIPNet Europe’s positive impact on member countries. One key benefit is the creation of vibrant and sustainable partnerships among stakeholders that bring the worlds of research and policy closer together. This is achieved through the EVIPNet Europe situation analyses, which identify and link up key actors in the fields of public health research and policy.

Estonia’s evidence brief for policy, for example, catalysed discussions in the country about the introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Poland’s evidence brief for policy supported the ongoing development of the legal act on primary health care. These real-life cases illustrate EVIPNet Europe’s impact on promoting and institutionalizing knowledge translation at the country level.

Presenters and participants at the workshop commended the use of concrete country cases to demonstrate EVIPNet Europe’s activities, tools and impact. Lively discussions highlighted the importance of close collaboration between research-producing institutions and policy-makers to foster sustainable knowledge translation.

The national EVIPNet Europe champions emphasized that being part of a multicountry network and its related peer-support system is crucial to create windows of opportunity for bridging the research-to-policy gap at the national level and for improving health policies.

10th European Public Health Conference

The European Public Health Conference is a yearly event that brings together health professionals from across Europe. This year’s event saw over 2000 participants gather to learn about the latest evidence and trends in public health research and practice.