Caribbean branch of Cochrane Centre launched in Jamaica
Posted: June 14, 2013
Jamaican based Regional Head office set to lead thrust For the use of evidence-based healthcare solutions for patients
The United States Cochrane Centre officially opened its only Caribbean office June 5, on the premises of the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.
The launch signaled the start of a vibrant partnership between the Cochrane Centre, the University of the West Indies and local health authorities including the Ministry of Health to realize evidence based health care solutions for patients in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region.
Mark Wilson, CEO of the Cochrane Centre's global thrust, referred to as the Cochrane Collaboration, emphasized that the evidence based approach has become a tried and proven method of assuring the best health care for patients. He said that a Cochrane review in in the early 1970s examined the inexpensive course of corticosteroid treatment given to women about to give birth prematurely. Since then a number of systematic reviews revealed that treatment of women with corticosteroids reduced the odds of babies dying from the complications of pre term birth by 30 to 50 per cent.
He underlined: "Until a systematic review of these trials was published by Cochrane, most obstetricians were unaware that the treatment was so effective, and (as a result) it was not widely used. … It is likely that tens of thousands of premature babies suffered and died unnecessarily." This example he stated, is one of many examples illustrating the human costs which may result from the failure to perform systematic, up-to-date reviews of recommended health care solutions.
Dr. Sonia Copeland of the Ministry of Health represented Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Jamaica's Minister of Health with a message of the Ministry’s commitment to research. She added that the partnership with the Centre will result in a strengthening of the quality of the ministry's research and policy agendas governing health care in Jamaica.
Another major Cochrane initiative is making 'evidence' a way of thinking for people involved in health care at every level. Patients in Jamaica will now be able to visit the Cochrane library online where they can determine if treatments recommended by their doctors are approved by the World Heath Organization (WHO).
The Cochrane Centre works in partnership with the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on all its recommended findings. The vision statement of the Cochrane Collaboration is that health care decision-making throughout the Caribbean and the world must be informed by high-quality, timely research evidence.