Priority Setting Partnerships starting work in Africa

Published: 17 October 2019

Two new JLA Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs) are now planning their work to develop locally appropriate research priorities by bringing together technical experts and experts by 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 responsive to their needs in these settings. Working with the University of Liverpool, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, the SAfRI team now aims to coordinate a JLA PSP in Maternal and Newborn Health in Uganda, to develop a global 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 for women which can be delivered effectively in community-based health care facilities.

Evaluating and reporting on the feasibility of running PSPs in these settings while maintaining core JLA principles will be an important part of the work. We aim to share the PSPs’ experience of the adaptations to the JLA process that are required to complete PSPs successfully within the constraints of low levels of literacy, variable access to electronic media, and dispersed geography.

The PSP teams will be predominantly locally based, rather than with their UK partners. They plan to address some of the above challenges by using door to door interviews, group meetings, interviews with patients in clinics or their homes, and paper surveys for people who are literate.

Both of these PSPs are working with JLA Adviser, Toto Gronlund, who says

“It is a real privilege and inspirational to work with these PSPs who are translating the JLA principles not just into the local language, but into the local setting. Both PSPs challenge the usual process of PSPs in western settings, where participants are generally literate and informed of their condition, where there are existing support and professional networks for the condition, and digital technologies are in common use. We anticipate the findings could be rapidly incorporated into future World Health Organisation and other international research priorities. ”

We look forward to sharing more information about the PSPs on the JLA website soon.

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