This research aims to enhance the health policy making processes in developing countries through a comparative study of three Asian countries - Vietnam, India and China. It will do this through a case-study approach to policy-making in the field of mate rnal health. The research will seek to understand the complex interplay of factors that affect or should affect health policy-making. Health is influenced by a number of factors which health policy-making has to take into account including the health care delivery system which in turn is affected by other factors including human resources, and the institutional and management arrangements of the health system. Health is also influenced by a number of contextual factors which policy-making processes must recognise and respond to. One particular aspect of the context which this research wishes to focus on is that of civil society and its role both in terms of influencing health and health-seeking behaviour and its role in influencing health policy formation. Health policy processes in developing countries are less robust than is desirable. This study will focus on three particular issues. The Know-Do gap is well-known, and this study will seek to understand its causes. Secondly, this research will explore the complex interplay between different influences on the policy process, and as such will break new ground, given that previous research has focused on single issues such as quality of care, or human resources. Lastly the study will examin e the factors faced by policy processes looking to incorporate civil society in the policy process. The research will employ a case-study approach which will result in both individual country studies and a comparative analysis. Particular emphasis wil l be placed on ensuring the full engagement of policy makers from the beginning of the studies themselves to maximise the potential for the results to be incorporated into practice.
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