Cochrane Collaboration awarded seat on World Health Assembly

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GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 24 /CNW/ - On January 24, 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) awarded The Cochrane Collaboration a seat on the World Health Assembly allowing the Collaboration to provide input on WHO health resolutions.

The Cochrane Collaboration was accepted as a Non-Governmental Organization in Official Relations with the WHO at the WHO's Executive Board meeting, establishing a partnership with formalized communication between the two organizations.

"The Cochrane Collaboration has been working with the WHO in various capacities for many years and I am delighted to have seen this grow into an official partnership," says Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw, co-chair of The Cochrane Collaboration's Steering Group, director of the Canadian Cochrane Centre, and Canada Research Chair in Health Knowledge Transfer and Uptake. "The WHO and various groups within the Collaboration have embarked on successful evidence-based health projects in the past and I know this will persist as we continue to strengthen this partnership."

One of the significant joint projects the WHO and The Cochrane Collaboration have developed is the WHO Reproductive Health Library (http://apps.who.int/rhl/en/). This is an electronic journal covering sexual and reproductive health produced by the WHO's Department of Reproductive Health and Research using the best available evidence from Cochrane Reviews. This initiative has helped millions of women and babies in developing countries through practice recommendations on newborn health, pregnancy and childbirth, and sexually transmitted infections. One such recommendation is the elimination of the routine use of episiotomies (cutting the skin and muscle surrounding the vagina) during childbirth which often leads to perineal trauma, infection and painful intercourse.

"Formulating an official partnership with an influential institute such as the World Health Organization is an honour. This speaks volumes about the work of Cochrane in evidence-based health care," adds Grimshaw.

"The Cochrane Collaboration provides an international benchmark for the independent assessment and assimilation of scientific evidence. It is a leading producer of high quality systematic reviews in health care," says Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director General of Innovation Information Evidence and Research at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva. "WHO has been working with The Cochrane Collaboration for several years and is looking forward to formalizing what has already been a very productive relationship."

Cochrane Canada has been particularly helpful in building this partnership through its continued efforts with the WHO. The Canadian based Cochrane and Campbell Equity Methods Group received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to work with REACH (Regional East African Community Health Initiative) co-ordinators to assess the effectiveness of knowledge translation strategies to promote the use of malaria prevention plans, which will be published as a Cochrane Review. As well, the group works very closely with The WHO Collaborating Centre for Knowledge Translation and Health Technology Assessment in Health Equity to address issues of equity, knowledge translation and health technology assessment, including an Equity Methods Group evaluation of EVIPNet (Evidence-Informed Policy Network for Better Decision-Making) in the Americas. Additionally, the Canadian Cochrane Centre's (CCC) formalized partnership with the Pan American Health Organization allows for the provision of webinar software enabling the CCC to provide online author and evidence utilization training in the Americas.

The partnership will allow The Cochrane Collaboration to significantly influence the way research evidence is created and used by the WHO by improving the collection of reliable health information and promoting intersectoral collaboration and high-quality research to produce the necessary evidence to ensure policies in all sectors contribute to improving health and health equity.

Current plans for The Cochrane Collaboration and the World Health Organization include the development of the WHO Library of Evidence for Nutrition Interventions (ELENI). Cochrane contributors have identified relevant Cochrane Reviews and updated or conducted new Cochrane Reviews in response to the WHO's priorities. This will facilitate the development of sound, evidence-based guidelines on nutrition issues relevant to WHO Member States and other partners. 

SOURCE The Cochrane Collaboration

For further information:

Lori Tarbett
Communications Specialist
Canadian Cochrane Centre
00-1-613-562-5800 ext. 2927
ltarbett@uottawa.ca

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