The Reproductive, Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health/Nutrition (RMNCAH/N) Research Advisory Council started as National advisory group (NAG) for reproductive health meant to function as a unit in Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI on Jan 2010. It was later repurposed and housed itself at the Maternal and Child Health Directorate (MCHD) with a refined terms of reference (ToR) since April 2015. Hence, the Directorate took the responsibility of coordinating and using the platform to facilitate evidence to policy translation in its work. The platform has effectively served the purpose of bridging the gap between policymakers and researchers in universities and research institutions.
The RAC is made up of more than 70 researchers and practitioners from universities, partner organizations and the MCHD. It is organized into 7 thematic groups corresponding to the areas of work of the Directorate. The operation of the RAC is organized by the RAC Secretariat being led by a Senior Research Advisor (SRA) who routinely supports and follow up the activities of the RAC.
Each of the thematic group takes up at least one policy relevant question for consideration every Ethiopian fiscal year. Policy relevant questions are posed or forwarded by a case team of the MCHD to the appropriate thematic group of the RAC during the regular annual planning meeting of the RAC. The questions are deliberated on and refined to make sure that the RAC supplies the answers for the real policy question being asked by the policymakers. Once agreement is reach on the question, the respective thematic group carries out analysis of already existing data or synthesize relevant previous studies to generate usable evidence to guide decision making at the Directorate. The RAC members also engage in the design, conduct and follow up of priority researches commissioned by the MCHD in collaboration with its partners.