A World Health Assembly special session to discuss the development of a potential new global health treaty to support pandemic preparedness is taking place this week (29 November – 1 December).
The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) and is attended by representatives of all Member States.
Our statement, which reiterates the reflections from the recent Cochrane Convenes meetings about the COVID-19 evidence response, is below:
Cochrane is a global advocate for evidence-informed health and health care. Our mission is to produce relevant and timely synthesized evidence.
Building and strengthening systems which are adequately prepared to produce and use reliable, relevant and timely evidence will be crucial to respond to future global health emergencies.
Cochrane recently hosted a convening of high-level stakeholders, co-sponsored by WHO, to reflect on the role of evidence in the COVID-19 pandemic and develop recommendations for future preparedness. The evidence response has been inequitable; our research methods, tools and processes have been pushed to their limits; and we have struggled to communicate uncertainties and gain trust.
Therefore, we urge Member States to ensure that any convention or instrument developed during this process prioritise the production, use and communication of evidence – and is accompanied by sustained investment in the systems and people who perform this vital role.
Our recommendations echo the WHO Evidence-informed Policy Network call for action, which we proudly support.