Health Policy and Agenda Setting in Contemporary Zambia: the human resources for health strategic plan (2006-2010)
Agenda setting is about how some issues get onto the policy agenda for discussion and action why others do not. Drawing critically on the ―policy windows‖ approach of J.W Kingdon (2003) this dissertation will describe and explain the shifting of policy agendas in health with reference to human resources in Zambia between 2000 and 2006. This research explores how and why the issue of human resource shortages in health became prominent on the state‘s agenda in 2005.The research is a qualitative study and data was collected using both primary and secondary sources of data across various stakeholders in the country. It tested the applicability of Kingdon‘s conceptual framework to a case study of Zambian health policy by analysing the degree to which agenda-formation is influenced by such factors as issue definition, the presence of policy alternatives, presidential support, interest group advocacy, media attention, political cycles, and public opinion. The general elections scheduled for the following year, coupled with media attention and strong public action contributed to the selection of the human resource crisis as an issue on the state‘s agenda for serious action. Furthermore, the slow progress on the attainment of the health related Millennium Development Goals and the poor performance of some donor funded programmes necessitated the state to act. Despite some weaknesses, Kingdon‘s multiple streams approach was found to be useful in explaining the agenda-setting of the Human Resources for Health Strategic Plan (2006-2010) in Zambia.