‘It doesn’t happen how you think, it is very complex!’ Reconciling stakeholder priorities, evidence, and processes for zoonoses prioritisation in India

Asaaga, Festus A. ORCID:; Sriram, Aditi; Chanda, Mudassar M.; Hoti, Subhash L.; Young, Juliette C.; Purse, Bethan V. ORCID: 2023 ‘It doesn’t happen how you think, it is very complex!’ Reconciling stakeholder priorities, evidence, and processes for zoonoses prioritisation in India. Frontiers in Public Health, 11, 1228950. 11, pp.

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•Background: Why do some zoonotic diseases receive priority from health policy decision-makers and planners whereas others receive little attention? By leveraging Shiffman and Smith’s political prioritisation framework, our paper advances a political economy of disease prioritisation focusing on four key components: the strength of the actors involved in the prioritisation, the power of the ideas they use to portray the issue, the political contexts in which they operate, and the characteristics of the issue itself (e.g., overall burdens, severity, cost-effective interventions). These components afford a nuanced characterisation of how zoonotic diseases are prioritised for intervention and highlight the associated knowledge gaps affecting prioritisation outcomes. We apply this framework to the case of zoonoses management in India, specifically to identify the factors that shape disease prioritisation decision-making and outcomes. •Methods: We conducted 26 semi-structured interviews with national, state and district level health policymakers, disease managers and technical experts involved in disease surveillance and control in India. •Results: Our results show pluralistic interpretation of risks, exemplified by a disconnect between state and district level actors on priority diseases. The main factors identified as shaping prioritisation outcomes were related to the nature of the zoonoses problem (the complexity of the zoonotic disease, insufficient awareness and lack of evidence on disease burdens and impacts) as well as political, social, cultural and institutional environments (isolated departmental priorities, limited institutional authority, opaque funding mechanisms), and challenges in organisation leadership for cross-sectoral engagement. •Conclusion: The findings highlight a compartmentalised regulatory system for zoonoses where political, social, cultural, and media factors can influence disease management and prioritisation. A major policy window is the institutionalisation of One Health to increase the political priority for strengthening cross-sectoral engagement to address several challenges, including the creation of effective institutions to reconcile stakeholder priorities and prioritisation processes.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2296-2565
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: zoonosis, disease prioritisation, health policy, India, low- and middle-income countries
NORA Subject Terms: Health
General > Science Policy
Date made live: 09 Nov 2023 11:43 +0 (UTC)

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