Cochrane and Africa: reflections on the African Cochrane Indaba
Lawrence Mbuagbaw is an author of four Cochrane Reviews, and mentors first-time authors working on HIV/AIDS reviews. In addition, he co-ordinates Cochrane training activities in Cameroon, and strongly advocates the translation of Cochrane products into French. Here, in the first of a series of Cochrane Blog posts from participants at the recent African Cochrane Indaba, Lawrence reflects on his experiences of the meeting.
From 6-8 May 2013, African contributors to The Cochrane Collaboration met in Cape Town, South Africa for the African Cochrane Indaba, to celebrate 15 years of Cochrane in Africa. This exciting event was marked by captivating presentations on the ways in which The Cochrane Collaboration and its African partners could bring evidence closer to the people who need it the most.
Colourful and thought-provoking posters in the lunch room spurred discussions and inspired new collaborations every day. Mentors and mentees were reunited; authors met with co-authors, sometimes for the first time. It was a great occasion to put a face to the names we see in emails confirming our title registrations; providing us with search results; or simply reminding us to stay on track with our timelines.
It is rare to find scientific meetings celebrated in such a convivial manner, with smiles all around, a genuine dedication to progress and a clear path forward. What did I take back? We have made enormous progress and are on the right path to greater things: the number of African-led Cochrane Reviews is on the rise; the uptake and use of evidence in African countries is improving as stakeholders are becoming more involved; Cochrane products are becoming available in more languages and are covering topics of interest to African health systems. Even though the French-speaking African countries were conspicuously absent, the Indaba was a huge step forward for international South-South and North-South collaboration.
Lawrence Mbuagbaw (email firstname.lastname@example.org)