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

Two JLA Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs) are working to develop locally appropriate research priorities in Uganda and Ethiopia, by bringing together both technical experts and experts from lived experience, regardless of social status, age, literacy level and internet access.

For the past seven years, the Sanyu Africa Research Institute (SAfRI) has been exploring models for involving women in designing interventions and research.  Women and communities are very responsive in generating interventions that are locally appropriate to their needs.  Working with the University of Liverpool, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, the SAfRI team is now coordinating a JLA PSP in Maternal and Newborn Health in Uganda, to develop a maternity research agenda with mothers, families, health workers and researchers in Mbale, eastern Uganda.

The Pelvic Floor Disorders 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.

Questions and answers:

Why are these PSPs in the JLA Lab and not considered standard JLA PSPs?

These PSPs are an important test of the adaptations necessary to conduct a JLA process in these settings, within the constraints of low levels of literacy, variable access to electronic media, and dispersed geography.  The PSP teams are predominantly locally based, rather than with their UK partners.  They plan 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 Groups of both PSPs are supported by a JLA Adviser, Toto Gronlund.  Toto is an independent facilitator who is there to make sure that the process is followed in a fair and transparent way.  She is working with the Steering Groups to ensure equitable input from the perspectives of patients, carers and healthcare workers, and we are pleased to say that both Steering Groups have demonstrated their commitment to this principle.  The Steering Groups themselves include women and other members of the community, as well as healthcare workers.