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Influencing Policy from Centre for Global Health

Ways our research has influenced policy development:

Professor MacLachlan is the knowledge management lead for the United Nations Partnership for the Rights of People with Disability (UNPRPD); which involves 9 UN agencies, along with government and civil society across 20 countries; the programme influence polices (e.g. new rehabilitation policies have been developed in South Africa), social structures (e.g. supported employment schemes have been developed in China) and institutions (e.g. the office of Ombudsman has been established on Moldova).  The programme promotes social inclusion, participation and the human rights of people with disabilities across low and middle-income countries, and will encompass another 10 countries in 2017.  Prof MacLachlan attended the Conference of State Parties, at the UN in New York, in June, to launch a report on the project - the report can be found here.

We have enjoyed a long-standing research collaboration on Dual-Salaries and injustice in development work; and their demotivating and capacity stripping consequences in low- and middle-income countries. This work has been led by Prof Stu Carr, of the School of Psychology and Poverty Research Group, Massey University, New Zealand; with a broad range of collaborators, including on the ADDUP project  (Are Development Discrepancies Undermining Performance).  Some of the policy briefs arising from this research are hosted on the Massey Website here (http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/learning/departments/school-of-psychology/research/poverty/publications/policy.cfm).

Prof MacLachlan Chaired an international consensus meeting of 60+ leading specialists at the World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, to agree on the Assistive Products List (APL); following on from a Global Survey of over 10,000+ AP users and professionals, along with a 3-step Delphi consultation of 200 users and professionals, both conducted through the Centre for Global Health, TCD.  Professor MacLachlan also attended the World Health Assembly, where the APL was launched; with a view to it being adopted globally, and taken up at the WHA in 2017.


Professor MacLachlan has been collaborating with WHO Geneva on the development of a Framework for developing National Assistive Technology Policies – so far the work has involved discussions with government, civil society and academics in Philippines, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR), and South Africa; with some of this work being undertaken by MSc in Global Health student Mary Scholl.  This work will involved the development of new policies in these and/or other countries.


Professor MacLachlan is the knowledge management lead for the United Nations Partnership for the Rights of People with Disability (UNPRPD); which involves 9 UN agencies, along with government and civil society across 20 countries; the programme influence polices (e.g. new rehabilitation policies have been developed in South Africa), social structures (e.g. supported employment schemes have been developed in China) and institutions (e.g. the office of Ombudsman has been established on Moldova).  The programme promotes social inclusion, participation and the human rights of people with disabilities across low and middle-income countries, and will encompass another 10 countries in 2017.  Prof MacLachlan will be attending the Conference of State Parties, at the UN in New York, in June, to launch a report on the project, along with the overall programme managers, the United Nations Development Programme.


Working in conjunction with UNESCO Management of Social Transformation (MOST) programme the Centre for Global Health has developed EquIPP (Equity and Inclusion in Policy Processes), which assesses the degree to which marginalised groups have been involved in the development and implementation of policies.  This work has involved evaluation of the National Policy on Science, Technology and Innovation of Malaysia; as well as providing recommendations and feedback to government on strengthening its ability to enhance social inclusion.  The project is currently undertaking similar analysis of the Disability Policy of Cambodia and Timor Leste.  EquIPP, which has arisen form the doctoral research work of INDIGO student, Tessy Huss, was published in 2016 and is freely available here (EquIPP).


CGH led an FP7 project – EquitAble – one of the products of which was EquiFrame, a policy analysis tool which evaluates the extent to which existing policies – “policies on the books” - promote the social inclusion of vulnerable and marginalised groups in policies.  EquiFrame has been applied to over 80 policies, including national and regional health and welfare polices, aid donor policies and UN conventions.  EquiFrame has been used to guide the development of Malawi’s National Health Policy; with Professor MacLachlan and colleagues collaborating with the government and other stakeholder in Malawi over the last few years.  EquiFrame has been revised into a second edition, which has also been translated into French by Handicap International.  EquiFrame is freely available here (EquiFrame).


CGH completed two realist syntheses; reviewing literature and expert opinion on governance and policy, and on human resourcing; both within the rehabilitation sector, for WHO.  Doctoral researchers and INDIGO students, Brynne Gilmore and Joanne McVeigh, and MSc in Global Health student Chiedza McClean, collaborated with an international panel of experts for each review, along with Prof Mac MacLachlan.  The reports are available here (Policy & Governance) and here (Human Resources). The results will inform the development of new Rehabilitation Guidelines being development by WHO; and academic papers arising from this research are currently in press.


The International Labour Organisation’s  PROPEL (Promoting Rights and Opportunities for People with Disabilities through Legislation) project, funded by Irish Aid, on which CGH staff were providing the knowledge management support, concluded at the end of 2015.  The project initiated various initiatives to influence policy to 1) Promote skills through disability inclusive vocational training, and 2) Support employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector. The project, supported by Irish Aid, resulted in enhanced employment, training or policy for people with disabilities across China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Zambia and Botswana.


CGH’s concluded its work on APODD (African Policy for Disability and Development) in 2014.  This project worked with civil society across Malawi, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, to identify and strengthen the advocacy abilities of civil society to influence national development policies (Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers).  In Uganda, for instance, reference to people with disabilities was doubled in the current PRPS, in comparison to the previous one.  Conference presentations on this project were also delivered in 2015.


CGH was commissioned by WHO to undertake a review of the literature to feed into the WHO Guidelines on Housing.  With Research Associate, HeaYoung Cho, we made recommendations on Accessible Home Environments for people with functional impairments.  A paper arising from this study is currently under review for publication in an internationally peer reviewed journal.


Dr Fiona Larkan is a member of the Dóchas HIV/AIDS working group. The Group was established in 2001 in response to the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on HIV and AIDS, and has as part of its brief the development of agreed advocacy positions and lobbying strategies to promote an effective Irish response to HIV and AIDS.


Dr Larkan’s South African-based research on HIV treatment adherence patterns, conducted with the support of the Western Cape Department of Health (Larkan et al, 2015) contributed to the WCDoH rapid rollout of ARV treatment strategy for sustained adherence at community level (through adherence clubs).

Dr. Frédérique Vallières has prepared several policy briefs for the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, in collaboration with World Vision Sierra Leone, which communicated the results of a longitudinal community health worker research programme.

Dr. Vallières and Prof. MacLachlan are leading a new Horizon2020-funded doctoral training programme. CONTEXT, or the COllaborative Network for Training and EXcellence in psychoTraumatology, will funde 12 doctoral researchers to research the psychological effects of exposure to traumatic life events among various trauma-exposed groups. CONTEXT doctoral researchers on this project will spend half of their training within the non-academic sector, where they will work with various organisations to advocate and support evidence-based policy development.

Dr. Vallières is leading a scale validation process for the assessment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD among Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The results of this process will inform current practice and procedures within International Medical Corps on the assessment of PTSD among displaced populations. This work is being undertaken in collaboration with MSc Global Health graduate, Dr. Ruth Ceannt.  

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Last updated 23 November 2016 School Web Administrator (Email).