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Practicing Knowledge Transfer through Deliberative Dialogue: Lessons from the SOCIALAB dissemination.

Practicing Knowledge Transfer through Deliberative Dialogue: Lessons from the SOCIALAB dissemination.  By: Dr. Aicha Marceline SARR (project contact person-SOCIALAB)

Before becoming a member of the Knowledge Translation Network Africa (KTNET Africa), I had a different vision for the dissemination of research results, which to my understanding was limited to the publication of articles in scientific journals, participation in national and international scientific conferences with presentations of research in the form of posters or orally. After this project, I finally understand that knowledge transfer goes beyond this approach. To be relevant and truly achieve its target, knowledge transfer has to be more interactive, more dynamic and more participatory and the main stakeholders should be involved.

The workshop to disseminate the results of SOCIALAB that was held on Dakar from 16 to 17 February 2016 was undoubtedly a beautiful illustration of knowledge transfer.  Indeed, it was an opportunity to put into practice all the theoretical teachings that the SOCIALAB coalition had benefited from throughout the 3 years of partnership. 

Participants at the SOCIALB dissemination analyzing study results

The findings from the biomedical component of the study showed that over 1246 pregnant women had participated in the study but only 30% received the results of the full range of prenatal tests recommended by the National Health Reproductive Program. The problems related to this under-utilization of laboratories are multiple, involving staff, the organization of health services, the exsiting health policies and the general context of limited resources within the health care sector in Senegal. Stakeholders who can take action to improve the use of tests are health workers and policy makers. It is therefore these stakeholders who were targeted for the dissemination workshop. Following the advice from KTNET, the research team has crafted recommendations formulated in simple and clear language and packaged them in form of posters to capture the attention of midwives and laboratory personnel. The form and content of these posters were reviewed and validated by stakeholders during a session that was brilliantly animated by KTNET during the workshop. The exercise made me realize how much our health professionals can be   motivated and engaged if they are creatively given an opportunity to express themselves!
At the end of the validation exercise, midwives and laboratory professionals become   users of the materials that they appropriately designed. In reality, this was the knowledge transfer process and the contribution of the different stakeholders to the materials produced benefited the target audience.  As reseasrchers, our intention was to ensure that there was better utilization of laboratory services in maternal health which would help in reducing maternal and infant mortality in Senegal.
 The Secretary General of Health, the Director of Laboratories (DL), the Division of Reproductive Health and Child Survival (DRSE) and the National Department of Education and Information for Health Ministry of Health (SNEIPS) were present at the workshop. Stakeholders were informed by the participants about the challenges limiting the provision of quality maternal health services particularly the use of screening tests, and this has since contributed to constructive dialogues . During the dialogue, health workers became aware of the challenges faced by policymakers in a context of limited resources and increasing health needs. We have packaged the results of our study in a video that is available on YouTube. Follow this link to watch the video ( 

Our thanks to the initiators and coalition partners. We thank the entire team of KTNET Africa in particular Dr Suzanne Kiwanuka, Dr. Leon Mutesa,  the PI of the Malaria Elimination Project (MEPR) Rwanda and Ms. Esther McSween-Cadieux Health from the Equitesante project for facilitating the smooth deliberative dialogue.

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