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Using systems thinking to understand the scale-up and sustainability of health innovation: a case study of seasonal malaria chemoprevention processes in Burkina Faso


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Niang, Marietou ORCID logoORCID:, Gagnon, Marie-Pierre et Dupéré, Sophie (2023). Using systems thinking to understand the scale-up and sustainability of health innovation: a case study of seasonal malaria chemoprevention processes in Burkina Faso. BMC Public Health, 23 (1902).

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Scale-up and sustainability are often studied separately, with few studies examining the interdependencies between these two processes and the implementation contexts of innovations towards malaria prevention and control. Researchers and implementers offer much more attention to the content of innovations, as they focus on the technological dimensions and the conditions for expansion. Researchers have often considered innovation a linear sequence in which scaling up and sustainability represented the last stages. Using systems thinking in this manuscript, we analyze complex scaling and sustainability processes through adopting and implementing seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) in Burkina Faso from 2014 to 2018.

We conducted a qualitative case study involving 141 retrospective secondary data (administrative, press, scientific, tools and registries, and verbatim) spanning from 2012 to 2018. We complemented these data with primary data collected between February and March 2018 in the form of 15 personal semi-structured interviews with SMC stakeholders and non-participant observations. Processual analysis permitted us to conceptualize scale-up and sustainability processes over time according to different vertical and horizontal levels of analysis and their interconnections.

Our results indicated six internal and external determinants of SMC that may negatively or positively influence its scale-up and sustainability. These determinants are effectiveness, monitoring and evaluation systems, resources (financial, material, and human), leadership and governance, adaptation to the local context, and other external elements. Our results revealed that donors and implementing actors prioritized financial resources over other determinants. In contrast, our study clearly showed that the sustainability of the innovation, as well as its scaling up, depends significantly on the consideration of the interconnectedness of the determinants. Each determinant can concurrently constitute an opportunity and a challenge for the success of the innovation.

Our findings highlight the usefulness of the systemic perspective to consider all contexts (international, national, subnational, and local) to achieve large-scale improvements in the quality, equity, and effectiveness of global health interventions. Thus, complex and systems thinking have made it possible to observe emergent and dynamic innovation behaviors and the dynamics particular to sustainability and scaling up processes. -- Keywords : Scale-up ; Sustainability ; Innovation ; Africa ; Burkina Faso ; Malaria ; Seasonal malaria chemoprevention ; Systems thinking.

Type de document : Article
Validation par les pairs : Oui
Mots-clés : Paludisme - Prévention ; Burkina Faso
Version du document déposé : Version officielle de l'éditeur
Départements et unités départementales : Département de psychosociologie et travail social
Déposé par : DIUQAR UQAR
Date de dépôt : 04 oct. 2023 19:59
Dernière modification : 03 nov. 2023 17:06

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