This article, published on january the 27, 2015 in Glob Health Action 2015, 8, under direction of Christian Dagenais in collaboration with Télesphore D. Somé, Michèle Boileau-Falardeau, Esther McSween-Cadieux a ndValéry Ridde is available to download lower on this page.
Despite efforts expended over recent decades, there is a persistent gap between the production of scientific evidence and its use. This is mainly due to the difficulty of bringing such knowledge to health workers and decision-makers so that it can inform practices and decisions on a timely basis. One strategy for transferring knowledge to potential users, that is, gaining increasing legitimacy, is knowledge brokering (KB), effectiveness of which in certain conditions has been demonstrated through empirical research. However, little is known about how to implement such a strategy, especially in the African context. The KB program presented here is aimed specifically at narrowing the gap by making scientific knowledge available to users with the potential to improve health-related practices and decision making in Burkina Faso. The program involves Canadian and African researchers, a knowledge broker, health practitioners, and policy-makers. This article presents the collaborative development of the KB strategy and the evaluation of its implementation at year 1. The KB strategy was developed in stages, beginning with a scoping study to ensure the most recent studies were considered. Two one-day workshops were then conducted to explore the problem of low research use and to adapt the strategy to the Burkinabè context. Based on these workshops, the KB program was developed and brokers were recruited and trained. Evaluation of the program’s implementation after the first year showed that: 1) the preparatory activities were greatly appreciated by participants, and most considered the content useful for their work; 2) the broker had carried out his role in accordance with the logic model; and 3) this role was seen as important by the participants targeted by the activities and outputs. Participants made suggestions for program improvements in subsequent years, stressing particularly the need to involve decision-makers at the central level.