Translating research into policy and practice: An exploratory study of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) recommendations in Brazilian scientific publications
Translating research into policy and practice:
An exploratory study of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD)
recommendations in Brazilian scientific publications
• Translating research into policy and practice is a complex process that spans over the
generation of scientific evidence up to the identification of its possible use as information for
policy, decision-making and action.
• There is a large gap between the volume of knowledge generated through research and its
real use in providing appropriate insights and guidance to health managers, policy makers
and general practice.
• Therefore, accessing clear messages on quality and well-structured abstracts through a
validated methodology, should provide evidence on the potential use of these
recommendations for action.
Adapted from ahuri.edu.au
• Do publications of Brazilian researchers on neglected
tropical diseases (NTD) report evidence for action? Is
• Develop a method to evaluate the report of evidence
in NTD by Brazilian researchers, regarding the type of
research, editorial choice and message directed to
action and / or recommendation.
National research output Scopus &
“Implications” to research,
public health or for practice
Integration of databases, duplicate cleanup
and data processing was done using the
VantagePoint® data-mining software.
NTD research output, involving
Brazilian authors, categorized
according to the type of research
Methodology The publications were retrieved
in PubMed using the PubMed ID
(PMID) number obtained from
Scopus and were categorized
based on MeSH.
PubMed coverage of
Scopus publications ranged
The identification of national research
output was based on articles with at least
one author affiliation to a Brazilian
based on a set of
Minimal Advice Audience Specified
The messages were classified as:
• “Actionable messages” if they were action-oriented and specified the actor
and/or the target;
• “Implications to research, public health or for practice” if no actionable
message was clearly stated but a need for action was identified.
National research output - Chagas disease
271 publications with at least one
author affiliated to a Brazilian
Type of research
Type of message
Publications presenting recommendations in the
Abstracts Recommendations to
Public Health and Practice
were less frequent in Basic
• Among 271 Brazilian publications on Chagas disease, 48,9% of publications abstracts
contained some Implications messages (22,8% of publications related to research, 18,8% to
practice and 7,4 to public health).
• Actionable messages were retrieved in 10% of Chagas disease abstracts, 7% of them
presenting actionable messages focused on public health.
• Actionable messages in the abstracts were more frequently when the topic of the publication
focused on Health Policy and Systems Research (messages related to public health-14,3%)
and implications messages were frequently found in Clinical Research type publications
(practice - 27,1%).
Proportion of publications presenting
recommendations in the Abstracts
• The subsets of words were found in 41,2% of 272 abstracts. The presence of prescriptive
language was present in 84% of public health actionable messages, while 81% of implications
for research messages presented tentative language. The presence of this set of words in the
abstracts, proved to be an efficient tool to identify and recovery recommendation messages
in the abstracts, with a discriminatory specificity varying from 50 to 84%.
Prescriptive & Tentative languages
Research Public Health Practice
Subset of words 0,81 0 0,50 0,84 0,61 0,56
No subset 0,19 0 0,50 0,16 0,39 0,44
• The author’s editorial choices to
disseminate and inform
recommendations were most
frequently specialized Brazilian
society journals indexed abroad,
reporting recommendations to
public health and practice.
• The Journal of the Institute of
Tropical Medicine of São Paulo
(14,3% of publications containing
recommendations) was the most
frequently journal chosen among
Brazilian authors on Chagas
Title Year Journal Message
Autochthonous transmission of Chagas
disease in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil: a clinical
and eco-epidemiological study.
The autochthonous vectorial transmission of CD occurs in RJ, probably due to wild cycles
of T. cruzi and sylvatic vectors, such as T. vitticeps. Therefore, the health authorities
should evaluate if RJ should be included in the original endemic area of CD and CD
should be included in the diagnostic work out of cardiomyopathy of patients born in
RJ. Moreover, control and educational measures should be put into place in the risk
Mortality due to Chagas disease in Brazil
according to a specific cause.
Am J Trop
The mortality rate caused by a compromised digestive tract increased in all regions.
Despite the control of transmission by vector and blood transfusions, CD should remain
on the list of priority diseases for the public health service in Brazil, and surveillance
actions cannot be interrupted.
Surveillance, health promotion and control of
Chagas disease in the Amazon Region -
Medical attention in the Brazilian Amazon
Region: a proposal
We recommend that epidemiological surveillance of Chagas disease in the Brazilian
Amazon Region and Pan-Amazon region should be implemented through continuous
monitoring of the human population that lives in the area, their housing, the
environment and the presence of triatomines. The monitoring should be performed
with periodic seroepidemiological surveys, semi-annual visits to homes by health
agents and the training of malaria microscopists and healthcare technicians to identify
Trypanosoma cruzi from patients’ samples and T. cruzi infection rates among the
triatomines caught. We recommend health promotion and control of Chagas disease
through public health policies, especially through sanitary education regarding the
risk factors for Chagas disease. Finally, we propose a healthcare system through base
hospitals, intermediate-level units in the areas of the Brazilian Amazon Region and air
transportation, considering the distances to be covered for medical care.
Examples of Actionable
messages for Public Health
• In this pilot test, the screening method proved to be an efficient tool to identify
and recover recommendation messages in the abstracts.
• Stating recommendations for action as directly, unambiguously and consistently as
possible could be helpful in translating results into the most appropriate actions.
• This method to recovery recommendations will be applied to the others priorities
NTD (Dengue, Hanseniasis, Leishmaniasis, Malaria, Schistosomiasis, Tuberculosis),
established by the Ministry of Health (MoH), to validate this recommendation
• As future perspectives, the use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) should be
applied as a tool to automate the search process and messages and