In May 2018, the WHO Global Malaria Programme launched a comprehensive review of our malaria policy-making and dissemination processes with the aim of ensuring the timely delivery of high-quality and evidence-based guidance for malaria-endemic countries. We solicited feedback from a broad range of stakeholders, seeking to better understand the needs and perceived bottlenecks. With support and input from the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC), several recommendations were developed to address the issues identified.
The Compendium of WHO malaria guidance provides, for the first time, a complete list of all formal WHO policy recommendations on malaria in a single resource. The document also serves as a catalogue of all WHO publications on malaria prevention, diagnosis, treatment, surveillance and elimination.
The WHO Global Malaria Programme (GMP) has issued a “Call for experts” to serve as members of the newly formed Guideline Development Group. This roster will also be used as the basis to convene future Evidence Review Groups and technical consultations to provide advice to GMP.
Complementing current efforts to better anticipate the need for new or updated policy recommendations, and in an effort to increase accessibility and input from all stakeholders, the WHO Global Malaria Programme is opening an online consultation window to collect nominations for new or updated recommendations from the malaria community. You can contribute to this work by submitting your nominations through our pilot portal, which will be open for a 3-month period, through 31 July.
In order to frame the prioritization of our work, the WHO Global Malaria Programme will undertake a consultative process building on existing work by the Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance (MESA), the WHO Observatory on Health Research and Development, and others to define unmet and partially met public health needs related to malaria. This work will provide a basis to map existing target product profiles for new tools and strategies in development and to identify gaps where the development of preferred product characteristics could stimulate innovation. You can contribute to this work by submitting your ideas on priority unmet public health needs through our pilot portal, which will be open for a 3-month period, through 31 July.
The WHO Global Malaria Programme has created a new section of the website dedicated to explaining our policy development process. As a first step towards increasing transparency around policy-making, this section presents an initial mapping of the policy process, as well as high-level descriptions of each step. These pages are a work in progress; we will continue to update and improve them as we move forward.
The policy development process, as presented below, is structured around three high-level steps:
Better anticipate:activities that build up to and trigger the policy development process
Develop policy: activities undertaken to develop policy recommendations
Optimize Uptake: dissemination of policy guidance and monitoring of its use
The revised policy-making process begins with activities to provide a framework to prioritize our work:
- defining unmet and partially met public health needs related to malaria;
- recognizing or endorsing existing preferred product characteristics (PPCs) / target product profiles (TPPs) or developing them if needed, in order to stimulate innovation, guide product development and provide predictability;
- conducting horizon scanning for new products and strategies and anticipating when evidence is available to develop a policy recommendation;
- providing scientific advice jointly with the WHO Prequalification (PQ) team to product developers;
- assessing, via the Vector Control Advisory Group (VCAG), the public health value of new vector control interventions and providing guidance on developing the evidence base required to inform such assessments.
Launch policy development
The policy recommendation development process for new tools and strategies can be triggered by several actions:
- submission of a product dossier to a stringent regulatory authority;
- published evidence available to evaluate a new product or strategy identified through horizon scanning or open nomination;
- information provided from a review by the Vector Control Advisory Committee (VCAG); or
- feedback from stakeholders.
The WHO Global Malaria Programme is working together with the Prequalification team to improve the policy development process and links with the prequalification processes. This includes:
- agreeing on how communication and coordination between the two teams can be improved;
- developing a single critical path for the parallel development of policy recommendations and prequalification assessments with the goal of issuing policy recommendations and the related prequalification listing(s) simultaneously;
- potentially revising the eligibility criteria for the submission of prequalification applications to facilitate parallel policy recommendation development and prequalification assessments to reduce the time to deployment for new tools.
Once recommendations are published, many efforts are undertaken to optimize their uptake at regional and country level, as well as their consideration in programmatic decision-making:
- improved communication linking the policy recommendation and prequalification listed products;
- improved dissemination of malaria policy guidance at regional and country level and monitoring uptake;
- feedback loops to ensure utility for our end users;
- simplified taxonomy of guidance documents, making it easier for users to find and use the documents they need.