Bridging the gap between evidence-based innovation and national health-sector reform in Ghana

Stud Fam Plann. 2004 Sep;35(3):161-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2004.00020.x.


Although experimental trials often identify optimal strategies for improving community health, transferring operational innovation from well-funded research programs to resource-constrained settings often languishes. Because research initiatives are based in institutions equipped with unique resources and staff capabilities, results are often dismissed by decisionmakers as irrelevant to large-scale operations and national health policy. This article describes an initiative undertaken in Nkwanta District, Ghana, focusing on this problem. The Nkwanta District initiative is a critical link between the experimental study conducted in Navrongo, Ghana, and a national effort to scale up the innovations developed in that study. A 2002 Nkwanta district-level survey provides the basis for assessing the likelihood that the Navrongo model is replicable elsewhere in Ghana. The effect of community-based health planning and services exposure on family planning and safe-motherhood indicators supports the hypothesis that Navrongo effects are transferable to impoverished rural settings elsewhere, confirming the need for strategies to bridge the gap between Navrongo evidence-based innovation and national health-sector reform.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Community Health Planning / organization & administration*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Family Planning Services
  • Ghana
  • Humans
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rural Population
  • Socioeconomic Factors