How behavioural science can contribute to health partnerships: the case of The Change Exchange

Lucie M.T. Byrne-Davis, Eleanor R. Bull, Amy Burton, Nimarta Dharni, Fiona Gillison, Wendy Maltinsky, Corina Mason, Nisha Sharma, Christopher J. Armitage, Marie Johnston, Ged J. Byrne, Jo K. Hart

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Health partnerships often use health professional training to change practice with the aim of improving quality of care. Interventions to change practice can learn from behavioural science and focus not only on improving the competence and capability of health professionals but also their opportunity and motivation to make changes in practice. We describe a project that used behavioural scientist volunteers to enable health partnerships to understand and use the theories, techniques and assessments of behavioural science. This paper outlines how The Change Exchange, a collective of volunteer behavioural scientists, worked with health partnerships to strengthen their projects by translating behavioural science in situ. We describe three case studies in which behavioural scientists, embedded in health partnerships in Uganda, Sierra Leone and Mozambique, explored the behaviour change techniques used by educators, supported knowledge and skill development in behaviour change, monitored the impact of projects on psychological determinants of behaviour and made recommendations for future project developments. Challenges in the work included having time and space for behavioural science in already very busy health partnership schedules and the difficulties in using certain methods in other cultures. Future work could explore other modes of translation and further develop methods to make them more culturally applicable. Behavioural scientists could translate behavioural science which was understood and used by the health partnerships to strengthen their project work.
Original languageEnglish
Article number30
JournalGlobalizaton and Health
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note


The authors would like to thank all their colleagues in the health partnerships between RCOG and Kitovu, RCM and UPMA, PUPSMD and Masanga and Ipswich and Beira hospitals. This work would be meaningless and impossible without their collaborations. We would like to acknowledge the work of all the health professionals in the health facilities in which the health partnerships operate, we have learnt a great deal from them. We would also like to thank the behavioural scientists of the world, whose science we are translating.


The Change Exchange was jointly funded by the Tropical Health and Education Trust and the Health Education England Global Health Exchange from January 2016 to February 2017. Funders were not engaged in the activities presented in this paper. One of the authors is employed by Health Education England and is a trustee for the Tropical Health and Education Trust.


  • implementation science
  • behaviour
  • health partnerships


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