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Organizations involved in global efforts to attain good health for all and to achieve the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 have identified a number of key barriers to progress. One of these barriers is specifically related to the gap between research findings and decisions that are made in practice (WHO, 2006). The gap means many public health problems remain intractable, despite known solutions. The authors of this topic paper examine ways in which knowledge management (KM) can increase engagement between research, policy-making and public health practice to close such gaps. We base our understanding on the notion that improved knowledge sharing will lead to wider understanding, enhanced cooperation, more effective use of good practices and better health outcomes. KM is important as it can provide cost-effective ways to access knowledge and engagement between different stakeholders—therefore making knowledge sharing more possible. This topic paper is intended for international health program managers and researchers whose role includes a communication or KM component. KM often has different purposes in different research organizations and different contexts; in this overview, we are looking at KM strategies that facilitate sharing knowledge, building skills and using data for decision making.
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