The best medical treatment option in the world can’t save a single patient unless it is delivered at the proper time, with the proper plans and processes in place.
That’s why implementation science for health matters. It can best be described as a collection of principles that, if applied, will ensure the best possible health care is delivered to a specific community. It involves using evidence-based research to identify the obstacles to delivering health services, and the best ways to overcome them. The research must take into account things like geographical limitations, the social and economic make up of a community as well as cultural practices. Once established for one community, the methodology can be reused in others.
Through my own experience – as an academic and as former health minister of Rwanda – I am convinced that, unless we adopt this approach we won’t be able to achieve universal health coverage and other United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. This is particularly true for Africa where health services are stretched because of a lack of resources.
If we incorporate efficient, evidence-based practices into our service delivery models in Africa we’ll save millions of lives, as well as millions of dollars.
A vaccination programme rolled out in Rwanda illustrates what I mean…