With finite resources and ever-increasing research waste (see Lancet series on increasing value, reducing waste; Lancet 201′; 38″: 166-75) there in an urgent need to prioritise research agendas, especially in resources-limited settings. In 2012, the SUNRAY project (www.sunrayafrica.co.z) found that while a great research was published, there was a substantial amount of duplication in research effort and a focus on treatment rather than on preventive action. Furthermore, the research portfolio was driven by donors rather than the needs and of the local and stakeholders.
The Evidence-informed Decision-making in Nutrition and Health (EVIDENT) partnership is an international hub created to strengthen capacities to address the disparity between research and local needs in nutrition and health in Africa. This will be achieved by empowering stakeholders to identify and prioritise their key nutrition and health concerns and, providing them with a platform where these can be addressed. These needs are addressed by systematically reviewing and appraising the evidence and contextualizing it using additional cultural and economic data. This process ensures societal relevance so that decision-makers can make recommendations for policies adapted to their local context. This has a two-fold benefit in that local needs are met without the unnecessary duplication of research.
Unlike other initiatives, EVIDENT focuses on nutrition. Nutrition is fundamental as it plays a substantial role in an individual’s overall health throughout the life cycle. It encompasses all issues that are at the forefront of global nutrition and health policy: stunting, underweight, maternal and child health, micronutrient deficiencies, obesity and non-communicable diseases (e.g. heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, etc.).
EVIDENT aims to increase impact by strengthening this evidence-policy pathway by translating local needs into recommendations that are specific, actionable, and informed by the best available evidence, while being adapted to the aligned priorities of stakeholders. Its three main pillars anchored at country level (including private sector, public, civil society) along this pathway are i) Problem-oriented and EIDM, ii) capacity strengthening and leadership and iii) horizontal collaboration within and across partner countries. Figure 1 presents the overall conceptual framework of EVIDENT.