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Making Decisions Based On Evidence

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 713
  • Category: Decisions

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             In the article, the authors have brought to light valuable tools that are applicable in the study of evidence-based public health. The exploration of these tools has thus helped to explain how use of scientific evidence has had an impact on health issues that we face daily. The health impact assessment approach has been highlighted in this article as a tool to determine the burden of health in a population. Besides bringing to light the underlying causes of disease in a population, this tool will also enable an exploration of disparities in health, observed across populations (Fielding & Briss, 2006). By a modification of the social, economic and physical environments that helps to determine the health of a population, there could be an improvement in the diseased population.

             In itself, the health impact assessment programme enables the evaluation of projects and programs, to see the effects they have had on a given population, in a wide variety of sectors. Further, this tool can also find wide application at the community level to reduce negative health impacts of a project (Zwi & Bowen, 2005). More so, impact health assessment finds application in the implementation of health policies. Another tool that has also been highlighted by the article is use of systematic reviews. This tool is a process that sums up scientific evidence, and then tries to relate it with health practices and policy recommendations. The idea is to aid in transparency and credibility of the decisions that will be arrived at by both the health practitioners, as well as the policy makers. Finally, the articles offers a portfolio of tools that makes it possible determine whether or not a policy, or a health intervention initiative for that matter, will be both appealing and feasible.

To make this possible, there is the need to have participatory research between the project implementors and beneficiaries. This is geared towards facilitating the success of a project. To determine the feasibility of a project however, it is important to collect quality information, as well as enhance the reporting of the same. This will help in reviewing of impacts of the project to the population. Health intervention projects needs an economic evaluation too, and a careful scrutiny of the decisions arrived at (Chang et al, 2007). However, the article fails to identify how community-based health practices can be collected and distributed to the stakeholders. A major challenge in the use of scientific evidence as a way of informing policy and decision makers, is that of convincing these players to adopt this practice. This is because for one, the issue of policy making is highly politicized. For the policies to be implemented, a lot of lobbying, in a bid to convince the policy makers is necessary. Another challenge in this exercise is that the policy and decision makers may not have a scientific background, and so an embracing of these policies may not be easy (Mcginnis et al, 2002).

             Besides, the political scene is rapidly changing, and the initiators of a policy may not see its implementation fast. Through the use of the best available evidence, child vaccination has been used and community-based water supplies have successfully been fluoridated. More so, there has been interventions to mitigate the prevalence of coronary heart diseases. However, there has been a slow movement of these evidence-based interventions across the public health domain, despite spending millions in taxes on research and service delivery (Fielding & Briss, 2006). Clearly, this article has also not been able to highlight how evidence based decision making has successfully been applied to handle health issues in the management of both cancer and obesity.


Chang, D. I., Bultman, L., Drayton, V. L., Knight, E. K., Rattay, K. T., & Barrett, M. (2007). Addressing children’s health care issues. Health affairs, 26 (2), 466-473.

Fielding, J. E., & Briss, P. A. (2006). In persuit of health policies that are based on evidence.  Health affairs, 25 (4), 969-978.

Mcginnis, J. M., Russo, P. W., & Knickman, J. R. (2002). Acting on health policies. Health affairs, 21 (2), 78-93.

Zwi, A. B., & Bowen, S. (2005). Towards making informed decision evidence:Setting an action framework. PloS Med 2 (7): 166.

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