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The politics of 'branding' in policy transfer: the case of DOTS for tuberculosis control


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  • Ogden, Jessica
  • Walt, Gill
  • Lush, Louisiana
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    How and why policies are transferred between countries has attracted considerable interest from scholars of public policy over the last decade. This paper, based on a larger study, sets out to explore the processes involved in policy transfer between international and national levels. These processes are illustrated by looking at a particular public health policy--DOTS for the control and treatment of tuberculosis. The paper demonstrates how, after a long period of neglect, resources were mobilised to put tuberculosis back on international and national public policy agendas, and then how the policy was 'branded' and marketed as DOTS, and transferred to low and middle income countries. It focuses specifically on international agenda setting and policy formulation, and the role played by international organisations in those processes. It shows that policy communities, and particular individuals within them, may take political rather than technical positions in these processes, which can result in considerable contestation. The paper ends by suggesting that while it is possible to raise the profile of a policy dramatically through branding and marketing, success also depends on external events providing windows of opportunity for action. Second, it warns that simplifying policy approaches to 'one-size-fits-all' carries inherent risks, and can be perceived to harm locally appropriate programmes. Third, top-down internationally driven policy changes may lead to apparent policy transfer, but not necessarily to successfully implemented programmes.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 57 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 1 (July)
    Pages: 179-188

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:57:y:2003:i:1:p:179-188

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    Keywords: Policy transfer Tuberculosis DOTS Policy communities Agenda setting Public policy formulation;


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    Cited by:
    1. Engel, Nora, 2009. "Innovation Dynamics in Tuberculosis Control in India: The Shift to New Partnerships," MERIT Working Papers 040, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Gagnon, France & Turgeon, Jean & Dallaire, Clemence, 2007. "Healthy public policy: A conceptual cognitive framework," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 42-55, April.
    3. Chataway, Joanna & Smith, James, 2006. "The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI): Is It Getting New Science and Technology to the World's Neglected Majority?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 16-30, January.
    4. Stephen Jan & Vangal R Muraleedharan & Sonia Andrews & Bhuvaneswari Rajaraman, 2010. "Private Sector in the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme: A Study of the Implementation of Private-Public Partnership Strategy in Tamil Nadu and Kerala (India)," Working Papers id:2696, eSocialSciences.
    5. Engel, Nora, 2008. "Drivers and Barriers of Innovation Dynamics in Healthcare - Towards a framework for analyzing innovation in Tuberculosis control in India," MERIT Working Papers 077, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).


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