Reviews for Africa Programme: What 5 years of RAPping did for Africa
In 2005, the South African Cochrane Centre (SACC), in collaboration with the Cochrane Infectious Diseases and HIV/AIDS Review Groups, began the Reviews for Africa Programme (RAP), funded by the Nuffield Commonwealth Programme. The aim of the programme is to provide training and support to successful applicants from 24 eligible African countries to complete Cochrane reviews. It also aims to develop research capacity and promote evidence‐based health care (EBHC) policy and practice in the region.
RAP consists of three phases (Table 1, page 12), and successful completion of each phase leads to progression to the next. Two phases are intense courses conducted at the SACC. Participants are also linked to an experienced Cochrane author who provides guidance and methods expertise. The strategic focus of reviews from this programme is on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases and issues relevant to Africa.
Since 2005, 25 participants (from Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe) have joined the programme (Figure 1, page 12). All participants have attended a four‐week intensive protocol development course and, to date, 23 have attended the three‐week review completion course. Nine reviews and 24 protocols have been published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews as a result.
Authors training others
Furthermore, since completing the two intensive courses, participants are active in conducting presentations and facilitating workshops on EBHC in their home countries, and training under‐ and postgraduate students on the principles of research synthesis. Successful three‐day courses on systematic reviews and meta‐analysis have been held in Cameroon and Malawi. In October 2007, a two‐day workshop on translating research into policy and practice was convened by participants based in Kenya. Participants are also actively sharing the knowledge they gained by mentoring new Cochrane authors and coauthoring Cochrane reviews. In Nigeria, there is interaction and dialogue with the Nigerian Branch of
the SACC and participants are instrumental in the implementation of RAP Nigeria.
RAP is an important training model integrating components of comprehensive on‐site training and distance support. Cochrane Review Groups might consider how they can build on this approach in partnering with skilled groups in poorer countries to promote research synthesis.
Taryn Young and Elizabeth Pienaar, South African Cochrane Centre
What 5 years of RAPping did for Africa!
RAP Nigeria will start October 19‐30, 2009 and will consist of three phases. Applications are invited from suitably qualified individuals. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS 4 p.m., 11 September 2009. Successful applicants will be informed in writing by 30 September 2009. To receive an application form or the full advertisement/eligibility criteria, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and copy email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.