Engagement with decision-makers

Engagement with National Malaria Programmes (NMPs) is a cornerstone of LINK, as we seek to build strong collaborations and national ownership of data and research which is vital for facilitating a culture of data use.

Value of ownership of data and research

Ownership is critical to the success and sustainability of evidence-platforms in the planning of health policy by national governments. Key decision-makers in NMPs and ministry of health planning departments must be the custodians of data and stewards of the processes and products resulting from it. This requires the building of trust between internal and external agencies and national programme staff, and political support within the higher levels of the ministry of health.

Relationship building

Through two Africa-based engagement contacts, a full-time London-based engagement officer, and project leadership who are embedded in country- and global-level malaria control efforts, LINK identifies and engages stakeholders at the country level from the onset of its activities.

There are three formal engagement points with NMPs:

  • pre-engagement
  • mid-term dialogue
  • dissemination.

Pre-engagement involves presenting LINK to the NMP and partners during which we identify all malaria data that is potentially available and from where the data could be accessed. Focal points are assigned by the NMP to coordinate with LINK in accessing data. Informal engagement continues while identifying all available data and up until the mid-term dialogue when draft maps, and timelines are presented to the programme and partners. This point of engagement facilitates further discussion as to what other data is available, and how it could potentially be accessed. 

The profile is finalised ahead of the final dissemination meeting which is a more extensive meeting during which the programme and partners deliberate over the results of the profiles in the context of the current National Strategic Plan, or upcoming mid-term or malaria programme reviews. The profile maps are interrogated with partners to identify what potential changes to the national strategy or current strategies should be considered considering the prevalence risk and intervention maps. 

As well as these formal engagement points, the team continues contact with the national programme throughout the development of the profile which takes between 6-9 months. In addition, our ongoing collaboration with NMPs and AFRO ensures that LINK efforts amplify rather than duplicate country’s development of operational plans, funding applications and health sector planning.

LINK's engagement activities initiate at senior levels within the ministry of health, and where possible, health planning units of the ministry of finance. These high-level engagements are opportunities for LINK to understand the local political economy of malaria decision-making.

The programme also establishes relationships with country Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Working Group or a Surveillance Monitoring and Evaluation, (SME) taskforce, where possible. This collaboration ensures that LINK efforts amplify rather than duplicate country’s development of operational plans, funding applications, and health sector planning.