Improving Nigerian health policymakers’ capacity to access and utilize policy relevant evidence: outcome of information and communication technology training workshop
Information and communication technology (ICT) tools are known to facilitate communication and processing of information and sharing of knowledge by electronic means. In Nigeria, the lack of adequate capacity on the use of ICT by health sector policymakers constitutes a major impediment to the uptake of research evidence into the policymaking process. The objective of this study was to improve the knowledge and capacity of policymakers to access and utilize policy relevant evidence. A modified "before and after" intervention study design was used in which outcomes were measured on the target participants both before the intervention is implemented and after. A 4-point likert scale according to the degree of adequacy; 1 = grossly inadequate, 4 = very adequate was employed. This study was conducted in Ebonyi State, south-eastern Nigeria and the participants were career health policy makers. A two-day intensive ICT training workshop was organized for policymakers who had 52 participants in attendance. Topics covered included: (i). intersectoral partnership/collaboration; (ii). Engaging ICT in evidence-informed policy making; use of ICT for evidence synthesis; (iv) capacity development on the use of computer, internet and other ICT. The pre-workshop mean of knowledge and capacity for use of ICT ranged from 2.19-3.05, while the post-workshop mean ranged from 2.67-3.67 on 4-point scale. The percentage increase in mean of knowledge and capacity at the end of the workshop ranged from 8.3%-39.1%. Findings of this study suggest that policymakers' ICT competence relevant to evidence-informed policymaking can be enhanced through training workshop.