Lab Activity 2 - Developing JLA methods for priority setting in Lower and Middle Income Countries

A JLA Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) is working to develop locally appropriate research priorities in Ethiopia, by bringing together both technical experts and experts from lived experience, regardless of social status, age, literacy level and internet access.

The Women's Genital Prolapse and Incontinence JLA PSP in Ethiopia is a collaboration between the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Gondar and the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Leicester.  The two universities are developing a research programme to study the epidemiology and impact of pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence among women living in Ethiopia and to develop and evaluate conservative and surgical interventions that can be delivered to women effectively in community-based health care facilities.

In 2019, a PSP was initiated in Uganda in Maternal and Newborn Health, based at the Sanyu Africa Research Institute and sponsored by the University of Liverpool.  Recently, due to changes in circumstances, this project has been closed by the University of Liverpool, and is no longer a JLA PSP.

We continue to welcome any further opportunities to explore JLA methods in a range of Lower and Middle Income Countries. Currently a project looking to establish research priorities for children with neuro-disabilities in LMICs is being established and has applied for funding to be a JLA PSP. This project would cover Micronesia, Bangladesh and East Africa. 

Questions and answers:

Why is the PSP in Ethiopia in the JLA Lab and not considered a standard JLA PSP?

This PSP is an important test of the adaptations necessary to conduct a JLA process in this setting, within the constraints of low levels of literacy, variable access to electronic media, and dispersed geography.  The PSP team is predominantly locally based, rather than with the UK partners.  It plans to use door-to-door interviews, group meetings, interviews with patients in clinics or their homes, and paper surveys for people who are literate.  Evaluating and reporting on the feasibility of this while maintaining core JLA principles will be an important part of the work.

How can the JLA ensure equality of voices in this context?

The Steering Group of the PSP is supported by a JLA Adviser, who is working with the Steering Group to ensure equitable input from the perspectives of patients, carers and healthcare workers, and that the work is conducted in a fair and transparent way.