Making Evidence-Informed Decisions: Communities of Practice
A question from the audience at the HIV Medical Association’s Community & Science Speak booth at the International AIDS Conference yesterday focused on what degree our government respects science and evidence-based interventions. It reminded me of part of the Vision for the Conference that appeared in the information guide had read earlier in the morning. In several places, reference was made to evidence-informed interventions, strategies and responses. This was a new term for me as I was used to seeing the term evidence-based.
The World Health Organization uses this definition of evidence-informed in the context of policy:
Evidence-informed health policy-making is an approach to policy decisions that aims to ensure that decision making is well-informed by the best available research evidence. It is characterised by the systematic and transparent access to, and appraisal of, evidence as an input into the policy-making process.
Where there is no scientific evidence, action is best based on expert opinion as outlined in the hierarchy of evidence pyramid. The Communities of Practice that K4Health hosts in the IBP Knowledge Gateway consist of hundreds of discussions by health providers and development practitioners. In these discussions, many of them moderated, successes and lessons learned are shared leading to new knowledge and, sometimes, best practices that are adopted far and wide. I invite you to visit these communities (focused on HIV, family planning and many other topics) when you have questions about the direction of your intervention, strategy or response that the evidence-base cannot answer.