Cochrane is delighted to announce the official launch of Cochrane Africa; a network with a vision to increase the use of best evidence to inform healthcare decision making across the sub-Saharan African continent.
The Africa Network consists of regional centres including its co-ordinating centre at Cochrane South Africa, South African Medical Research Council, and the establishment of hubs at University of Calabar, Teaching Hospital, Nigeria, Stellenbosch University, South Africa and Yaoundé University, Cameroon.
Cochrane Africa is part of the global, independent Cochrane network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers, and people interested in health. The Network will promote evidence-based decision making in health care across the sub-Saharan African region by supporting and training new authors of Cochrane Reviews, as well as working with clinicians, professional associations, policy makers, patients, and the media to encourage the dissemination and use of Cochrane evidence.
Since the late 1990s, African collaborators have worked to improve the production of high-quality, Africa-relevant reviews and to support their use in policy and practice through stakeholder engagement and capacity building. In 2007, the informal Cochrane Network was created to build on this track record and to enhance and expand these activities.
Reviews from Africa have informed several national and international guidelines, particularly in the areas of malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.
Cochrane Africa Founding Director Jimmy Volmink warmly welcomed today’s news: “Cochrane SA has been investing in building capacity and relationships on the African continent over many years, and it is now wonderful to see the vision of a formally registered Cochrane African Network coming to fruition.”
Cochrane Africa will be co-ordinated by Cochrane SA, which will offer methodological support, mentoring, and supervision to the regions.
The Director of Cochrane South Africa, Charles Wiysonge, says this is a hugely exciting opportunity: “The launch of the first-ever Cochrane Africa Network is very important, both to sub-Saharan Africa and globally. Producing and increasing the dissemination of the best-available information on health care is critical for clinicians and patients everywhere in the world, including Africa. We wish to build partnerships to promote evidence-informed health care in collaboration with African leadership, and create further opportunities to grow the network.”
Solange Durão from the Cochrane Africa Coordinating Unit is proud to be a part of this Network: “Health care will benefit from the increased presence of Cochrane’s work in sub-Saharan Africa. Conducting relevant reviews based on priority setting, identification of research gaps, and regional stakeholder needs is going to stimulate and focus our actions relating to the care of patients based on strong scientific evidence. Many African countries will benefit from this collaboration as we welcome new contributors to build capacity by providing learning and mentoring opportunities for conducting and using relevant Cochrane systematic reviews.”
Cochrane’s CEO Mark Wilson says: “I believe this is an important announcement for improved health outcomes in Africa. The continent’s health and healthcare challenges are huge, and with limited resources and fragile health systems in many countries it is more important than anywhere else in the world that the decisions of Africa’s doctors, nurses and policy-makers are made on the basis of the best evidence. Cochrane Africa will deepen and expand the scope, reach, and impact of Cochrane evidence on health and healthcare decision making; as well as developing Africa’s own production of high-quality evidence amongst its clinicians, researchers and academics. I’m delighted we are launching Cochrane Africa, our newest geographic network, at the Global Evidence Summit in Cape Town as an indication of Cochrane’s growing commitment to overcoming the global inequalities in healthcare provision and life chances that continue to exist.”
West Africa Hub
Martin Meremikwu and Emmanuel Effa
Calabar Institute of Tropical Diseases Research & Prevention
University of Calabar Teaching Hospital
Francophone Africa Hub
Pierre Ongolo-Zogo and Lawrence Mbuagbaw
Centre for the Development of Best Practices in Health
Yaoundé Central Hospital
Cochrane Africa Coordinating Unit
Tamara Kredo, Solange Durão, Charles Wiysonge and Taryn Young
Cochrane South Africa
South African Medical Research Council