Objectives: To understand how knowledge is used to inform policy on Health Equity Funds (HEFs) in Cambodia; and to draw lessons for translating knowledge into health policies that promote equity.
Methods: We used a knowledge translation framework to analyse the HEF policy process between 2000 and 2008. The analysis was based on data from document analysis, key informant interviews and authors' observations.
Results: The HEF policy-making process in Cambodia was both innovative and incremental. Insights from pilot projects were gradually translated into national health policy. The uptake of HEF in health policy was determined by three important factors: a policy context conducive to the creation, dissemination and adoption of lessons gained in HEF pilots; the credibility and timeliness of HEF knowledge generated from pilot projects; and strong commitment, relationships and networks among actors.
Conclusions: Knowledge locally generated through pilot projects is crucial for innovative health policy. It can help adapt blueprints and best practices to a local context and creates ownership. While international organisations and donors can take a leading role in innovative interventions in low-income countries, the involvement of government policy makers is necessary for their scaling-up.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.