AFIDEP 1st Bi-Annual Newsletter 2014
In this newsletter there are four articles. In ‘Missed opportunities: Countries not leveraging HIV/AIDS services for improved maternal and child health,’ it is believed that since HIV/AIDS receives more resources compared to maternal and child health, integrating it in maternal and child health services will strengthen the maternal and child health platform, which has remained weak over the years due to limited funding. Research indicates that majority of expectant women in most sub-Saharan African countries attend antenatal clinics. In ‘Strengthening leadership and capacity for evidence-informed decision-making in Africa: The SECURE Health Programme’ decision-makers in Africa are increasingly recognising the importance of applying evidence in policy and practice. However, actual evidence use remains sub-optimal due to many factors including weak networks between researchers and policymakers, ineffective dissemination of research evidence, weak capacity among policymakers to apply research evidence, and politics and individual interests, among others. In ‘Dr. Zulu on the demographic dividend: 6 key investments will bring about economic transformation in Africa’ describes the population age structure as shaped like a pyramid with a wide base, implying that there are more young children than the working age population in many African countries. The result is that the working age population and the government end up spending most of their resources taking care of these dependants. Consequently, since the children are so many, the quality of healthcare, education and other social needs is poor since the working age population and the government cannot keep up with the vast needs of the dependants. In ‘African governments make efforts to harness the demographic dividend,’ various African governments, including Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, are beginning to make efforts that will steer them towards harnessing the demographic dividend. In ‘Health research-to-policy conference in Kenya: Ministry commits to ensuring policies are evidence-informed, calls for a knowledge-sharing platform’ researchers from various institutions shared engaging presentations on new research on various issues, translating evidence to policy, and evaluating implementation programmes, among others. Policymakers, on the other hand, shared current challenges experienced in utilising evidence for decision-making at both the national and county levels.