Bangladesh, Kenya, Myanmar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Scotland, UK: DFID health advisers from all corners of the globe came to LSTM for a 2-day course on systematic reviews following their annual advisers meeting. This builds on the success of last year’s course, and aims to help advisers identify, appraise and deliver accurate assessment of evidence for decisions.
“This changes the way I look at evidence forever!” one participant commented as the course took them through some of the latest methods and debates in the field, including the influence of conflicts of interest on decision making. The course built on the 20-year engagement of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine with establishing evidence synthesis in Cochrane, now even more important as there is clear consensus that evidence synthesis is essential to link research and decision making.
The course discussed the need multidisciplinary teams led by methodologists who are independent and at the forefront of the latest methods and approaches to avoid bias. It included reviews from the Cochrane infectious diseases group, whose editorial base is at LSTM, and qualitative synthesis being carried out with colleagues in Cape Town and London.
“Globalize the evidence, localise the decision said John Eisenberg in 2002, and now we have transparent methods to do both.” Said Professor Paul Garner: “Having advisers that can effectively draw on the resources and methods available will ensure that UKAid can maintain effective aid spend. We have been delighted to run this course for DFID for the second time and to provide the participants with a structured approach to applying research syntheses in a particular setting.”