If research findings are to have an impact, they need to be taken up by people who can change policies and programs. Research uptake includes all the activities that facilitate and contribute to the use of research evidence by policy makers and other development actors. This series documents successes and challenges around activities undertaken by the Countdown 2030 collaboration to facilitate greater use of evidence for decision making by policy makers and other country stakeholders.

So far the data uptake series has described our work in Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, Uganda, and Zambia. We will continue publishing these briefs periodically through 2025.

Ethiopia Data Uptake Brief

The Ethiopia team at a workshop

The Countdown collaboration has provided an opportunity for Ethiopia to reflect on the past and to use data to plan for the future, through the positive public health approach of the maternal newborn health exemplars study and an endline review of the five-year national health plan.

We learned how Ethiopia initiated major health system changes around 2000, which resulted in major improvements in health service coverage and survival over about a decade and in all regions of Ethiopia. But we also saw that large inequalities within the country persisted and that there is much scope for further improvements,” said Ashenif Tadele of the Ethiopian Public Health Institute.

Read more about the data uptake series here.

Under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, the Countdown collaboration has helped to monitor progress across Kenya’s 47 counties. Dr. Helen Kiarie shepherded the production of several high-impact analyses in the last two years that reached the highest levels in government.

“Strengthening the analytical capacity in my team is a core feature of the Countdown collaboration, as we discuss the methods extensively and jointly develop analytical products”, said Dr. Kiarie, “This kind of collaboration is essential, and sets a good example of genuine partnership where we learn from each other.”

Read more about the data uptake series here.

Kenya Data Uptake Brief

The Kenya team presenting their work at an analytical workshop

Pakistan Data Uptake Brief

Dr. Nausheen Hamid, parliamentary secretary for health, speaks at a report launch event in March 2021.

The Countdown to 2030 collaboration in Pakistan formed a technical team to summarize the current situation for RMNCAH+N, using all relevant data sources. The report was launched in March 2021,1 and shared online and through the RMNCAH Technical Working Group and at Pakistan’s Annual Public Health Conference which was attended by more than 3000 participants. The findings were subsequently included in the reproductive health teaching module of MPH programme of Health Services Academy.

The Offices of Research Innovation & Commercialization, which are part of Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission, also organized discussion seminars related to the report’s content. The research team part of the formulation of Pakistan’s Universal Health Care Investment Case, being developed through the GFF and others. Also, The Planning Commission of Pakistan’s Health and Population committee shared the report for inclusion into the next long-term sector plans.

Read more about the data uptake series here.

The midterm review of Uganda’s health sector development plan 2015/16-2019/20 took place in late 2018. The Countdown collaboration produced a comprehensive analysis of progress and performance based on all relevant data. This included thorough analyses of health facility data, which the team also published in a scientific journal. The statistical report was a critical input into the midterm review and was presented at multiple review meetings.

“In the next phase of the Countdown collaboration (2023-2025), we will continue to focus on responding to needs for analytical work expressed by the ministry of health, which is critical for uptake and use of the results of our work,” said Prof. Peter Waiswa of Makerere University. Priority areas include an assessment of the progress and performance of districts and regions with a focus on primary health care and RMNCAH.

Read more about the data uptake series here.

Uganda Data Uptake Brief

The Uganda team at a workshop.

Zambia Data Uptake Brief

Members of the Countdown collaboration team at a dissemination event in June 2022.

The Countdown collaboration has supported a culture of data use in Zambia through capacity-building around analysis and data use, well-attended dissemination events for government and university partners, and both within-country and cross-country analyses.

“The culture in the country is mostly to collect this huge amount of data but when it comes to using that data, there is very little or no use of it,” said Brivine Sikapande of the Ministry of Health. “Through our products we have been able to stimulate a lot of interest from partners, as well as within the Ministry of Health, to be able to use the data to inform programming.”

Read more about the data uptake series here.