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Localised Evidence and Decision-making (LEAD) Project

Prof Tim Allen (LSE) and Prof Melissa Parker (LSHTM) - £350,776
15 February 2019 to 14 February 2021 (Project Grant BSA04)

Localised Evidence and Decision-making (LEAD) Project addresses the need for locally-relevant evidence for public health decision-making. In sub-Saharan Africa, local public health practitioners are part of a larger global health system, wherein they are responsible for the implementation of disease-specific, global health interventions, largely financed by external entities through development assistance. The most dominant prominent methods used to synthesize knowledge about these interventions only permit the inclusion of a very narrow, specific type of information and produce results that are not generalizable for needs of local decision-makers. Specifically, results of efficacy studies utilizing RCTs evaluate linear theories of change, which are largely incompatible with the complex systems in which interventions are implemented.

The LEAD project will focus on one representative global health intervention which characterises this approach, mass drug administration (MDA) for schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths within epidemiologically relevant areas across East Africa. Explicit links between local practitioners and the development of evidence will be created through participatory workshops to identify local evidence needs and elucidate the complexity of implementation from the local perspective. This information will directly influence the methodological choices, inputs, and outcomes of modelling intervention implementation through a complex systems approach utilising artificial intelligence techniques.

Research team:

Prof Tim Allen, Professor in Development Anthropology, LSE
Prof Melissa Parker, Professor in Medical Anthropology, LSHTM
Dr Georgina Pearson, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, LSE
Dr Cristin Fergus, Researcher and PhD student, LSE