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Systematic reviews: what have they ever done for global health?

Wednesday, 26 Apr 2017

Professor Paul Garner, who is Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group and Director of the Centre for Evidence Synthesis in Global Health at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, was speaking in a guest lecture entitled ‘What have systematic reviews done for global health?’ in the Global Health Seminar Series at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University in January 2017.

He highlighted that Cochrane has played a major role in mainstreaming systematic reviews. The main strengths are its methodology, the collaborative approach, the way reviews are published electronically, and made accessible, and the organization that supports the production of reviews. “Undertaking a Cochrane systematic review also provides good science training,” continued Professor Garner, “building capacity in good science, epidemiology, and statistics.”

“Cochrane reviews have helped to uncover poor scientific practices and to identify research priorities”. He provided specific examples of where Cochrane reviews had overturned previously accepted research findings and challenged the status quo. He also pointed out that in the UK most research funders now insist that any research applications have to be accompanied by a recent systematic review to show the gaps the research will fill with the aim of reducing wasteful research.

You can watch the full presentation here: