Strengthening the Policy Environment for Health Research in the Philippines: Insights from a Preliminary Analysis of Existing Policies
Background and Objective. Research plays an important role in generating new knowledge that could improve health outcomes when translated into action. As such, there must exist a supportive research policy environment that facilitates the provision of necessary resources and sustainably ensures an appropriate number of skilled researchers buttressed by institutions. These, in turn, are envisioned to provide facilities, information systems, financial grants, and avenues for career development and collaboration. This study aims to analyze factors in the current policy environment that makes health research possible in the Philippines.
Methods. Qualitative exploratory design was used to characterize the Philippine health research environment. Guided by Adamchak's framework on policy environment, a content review of 39 policy documents (1991 to 2018) by the four core agencies of the Philippine National Health Research System was conducted. Seven elements of the policy environment were described.
Results. The policies analyzed in this study mainly addressed the legal, political, cultural, economic, and ecological elements of the policy environment. Policies that support the demographic and technological elements are lacking, in that these leave out details that are essential for capacity building and use of research output. A cross-cutting effort to resolve gaps may be necessary.
Conclusion. Several factors continuously affect the environment in which policy is developed. There is room for improvement in terms of showcasing the government’s regulatory quality and independence from political pressure. Equal attention must also be paid to human capital development, innovation partnerships, and mechanisms to improve knowledge impact, absorption, and utilization.