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May 02, 2023
Select a health issue based on criteria such as being one of the top causes of mortality and
morbidity as a leading cause of DALYs, a main cause/contributor to health disparity or
inequity, etc.


The policy briefs need to be very concise, precise, and evidence-based. They also should use
data and be well-argued. Each paper needs to be written in a manner that will allow the aide
to the elected official (e.g., Minister of Finance) to brief him or her on it in about 7-10
minutes in a car on the way to some meeting since that is what often really happens. The
policy brief should begin with an introductory (summary) paragraph. Remember, the elected
officials have limited time and are most likely to read the summary paragraph first and scan
the rest of the paper. Therefore, writing a strong introduction is important. The summary
paragraph would read something like the following:

“About 5000 people die every year of Disease X in our country. The incidence of Disease X
is 25 per 100,000. About 15% of people in our country get drug-resistant Disease X every
year, and about 10% of those who are infected with Disease X have active Disease X.
Disease X affects largely the urban and rural poor and stems from poverty, general ill health,
and the lack of coverage of our health services. It causes illness for an extended period,
stops people from working, causes them to spend large amounts on health, and leads many
families into poverty. Anti- Disease X is a low-cost approach to Disease X diagnosis and
treatment that we are not using sufficiently. We must immediately expand our Disease X
program, starting in the north, where the disease burden is highest. We must increase case
detection and treatment success rates. We must also pay special attention to the diagnosis
and management of drug-resistant Disease X and Disease X/HIV co-infection.” (adapted
from Skolnik R, 2016)i

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