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  • The objects of global health policy: Turning knowledge into evidence at the World Health Organization

    Rachel Irwin

    Hansson K. & Irwin R. 2020. Movement of knowledge: Medical humanities perspectives on medicine, science, and experience.

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    The transformation of public health knowledge and experience into evidence is fundamental to the work of the World Health Organization (WHO). A key question is how (or if) the WHO produces policies that are globally relevant through this process. How are public health knowledge, evidence, and experience from 194 member states and a wide range of other stakeholders incorporated into policies that are meant to be universally applicable? I examine this question by comparing the drafting of two WHO policies: the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (1981) and the Set of Recommendations on the Marketing of Foods and Non-alcoholic Beverages to Children (2010). I examine how the policy process at the WHO revolves around the transformation of public health experience and knowledge into evidence. I look specifically at this process, considering the use of evidence for agenda-setting and as a rationale for action, controversies about evidence, and how the ‘best available evidence’ promotes or limits certain policy options.


    Irwin, R. 2020. The objects of global health policy: Turning knowledge into evidence at the World Health Organization. In: Hansson K. & Irwin R (eds.), Movement of knowledge. Sweden: Kriterium. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21525/kriterium.24.c

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

    Information om sakkunniggranskning

    Den här boken är vetenskapligt sakkunniggranskad. Se Kriteriums policys och peer review riktlinjer.

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    Publicerad den 10 september 2020