BACKGROUND:The knowledge generated from evidence-based interventions in mental health systems research is seldom translated into policy and practice in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). Stakeholder analysis is a potentially useful tool in health policy and systems research to improve understanding of policy stakeholders and increase the likelihood of knowledge translation into policy and practice. The aim of this study was to conduct stakeholder analyses in the five countries participating in the Programme for Improving Mental health carE (PRIME); evaluate a template used for cross-country comparison of stakeholder analyses; and assess the utility of stakeholder analysis for future use in mental health policy and systems research in LMIC.
METHODS:Using an adapted stakeholder analysis instrument, PRIME country teams in Ethiopia, India, Nepal, South Africa and Uganda identified and characterised stakeholders in relation to the proposed action: scaling-up mental health services. Qualitative content analysis was conducted for stakeholder groups across countries, and a force field analysis was applied to the data.
RESULTS:Stakeholder analysis of PRIME has identified policy makers (WHO, Ministries of Health, non-health sector Ministries and Parliament), donors (DFID UK, DFID country offices and other donor agencies), mental health specialists, the media (national and district) and universities as the most powerful, and most supportive actors for scaling up mental health care in the respective PRIME countries. Force field analysis provided a means of evaluating cross-country stakeholder power and positions, particularly for prioritising potential stakeholder engagement in the programme.
CONCLUSION:Stakeholder analysis has been helpful as a research uptake management tool to identify targeted and acceptable strategies for stimulating the demand for research amongst knowledge users, including policymakers and practitioners. Implementing these strategies amongst stakeholders at a country level will hopefully reduce the knowledge gap between research and policy, and improve health system outcomes for the programme.
KEYWORDS:Health policy and systems research; Knowledge translation; Mental health; Research uptake; Stakeholder analysis