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The Malaysian Alliance for Embedding Rapid Reviews in Health Systems Decision-Making, MAera has transformed the way urgent requests are handled to yield quicker results. In the advent of urgent evidence needs, the methodology has the ability to answer policymakers’ questions, sometimes partially, before embarking on a full-scale primary research or secondary data analysis if necessary.

The strength of the platform is in assisting policymakers to articulate the intention and objective of a commissioned project. At the start, the health systems issue will be discussed in depth, where MAera begins with the end in mind, to ascertain how the findings will be utilised by the policymakers. Additionally, the thorough discussion often leads to identification of additional key actors and stakeholders to address the issue at hand, who will then join subsequent meetings. Iterative engagements provided continuous progress updates and ensured relevance, where we found that more engagements equated to higher ownership of findings. For each project, MAera identifies an anchor from the policymaking group as a liaison when discussion is required. These strategies facilitate translation of findings into policy and practice.

We have learned a new methodology to address policymaker needs, obtained resources to create awareness and generate demand for rapid evidence synthesis (RES) in health systems decision-making and built capacity by adapting RES methodology and conducting projects based on policymaker demand. The platform serves as a boost to enhance evidencebased decision-making in Malaysia.

MAera is moving towards institutionalising RES methodology in the Ministry of Health (MOH), through growing the capacity of IHSR and beyond, for health systems RES, capitalising on existing policymaking structure. With time, increasing capacity for RES would lead to embedding the utilisation of the methodology within MOH.