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The Cochrane Centre’s Dr Solange Durao (left) and
Dr Tamara Kredo (far right) with UKZN’s Dr
Nombulelo Magula, Dr Veena Singaram and Dr
Nisha Nadesan-Reddy.

UKZN’s Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) together with the School of Clinical Medicine (SCM), recently hosted a successful and invigorating workshop titled: “Evidence-based practice and the Cochrane Collaboration”.  

Presenters, Dr Tamara Kredo and Dr Solange Durao from the South African Cochrane Centre, told participants that in health sciences research, with healthcare decisions being so complex, it was essential that research was evidence-based to ensure cost effectiveness and the best use of resources resulting in appropriate patient treatment.  

According to the Cochrane Centre, evidence-based healthcare up-to-date information from relevant and valid research about the effects of different forms of health care, the potential for harm from exposure to particular agents, the accuracy of diagnostic tests, and the predictive power of prognostic factors. 

Hence, healthcare research needed to be informed by clinical and community information guaranteeing relevance and implementation in one’s own setting. In this regard, currently to conduct a clinical trial, there was a need to have completed a systematic review to prove that the study would be effective in its setting and is novel. 

Clinicians in the audience were also encouraged to conduct evidence-based practice which entails integrating individual clinical expertise with the current best available evidence.  

Conducting evidence-based research would entail a review of current studies in a relevant field. However, with on average 74 articles published within a week, according to the British Medical Journal, this is not an easy task. 

The Cochrane Collaboration assists in this regard by providing systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy, and which is internationally recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based health care. Cochrane reviews are published online in The Cochrane Library, making it easily accessible to healthcare researchers and clinicians. 

Durao explained that a Cochrane review took into account all the information available on a topic, removed bias, made use of a standardised format, was subjected to extensive peer review and was kept up-to-date. 

* The Cochrane Collaboration is internationally recognised as the benchmark for high quality information about the effectiveness of healthcare. It consists of an international network of more than 31 000 dedicated people from over 120 countries.  

The extensive team works together to help healthcare practitioners, policy-makers, patients, their advocates and carers, make well-informed decisions about health care, by preparing, updating, and promoting the accessibility of Cochrane Reviews. 

The collaboration also prepares the largest collection of records of randomised controlled trials in the world, called CENTRAL, and is published as part of The Cochrane Library