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The Cochrane Developing Countries Network: an initiative to improve equitable access to knowledge and information and to its management

Date: Wednesday 31 October 10.45–12.15
Source: Forum 11
Authors: Zulma Ortiz, Chief, Training and Research, Epidemiological Research Institute, National Academy of Medicine, Argentina
with Mona Nasser, Li Wang, Youping Li, Jordi Pardo and Xavier Bonfill


There is a wide consensus in the Cochrane Collaboration that more needs to be done to extend the activities and outputs of the collaboration to developing countries. Although some Cochrane centres and branches are based in these countries, and some review groups, methods and fields have very active members who live there, globally, less than 10% of the Cochrane reviews are authored by people based in a developing country. Furthermore, many topics relevant to the developing world and addressing problems that affect large populations remain neglected. Moreover, there is a low awareness of the Cochrane Collaboration and the Cochrane activities in many developing countries.

During the past five years, a number of debates and proposals to address the above issues have been made. To channel the existing ideas and make appropriate proposals for translating the prevailing general willingness into practice, the Steering Group promoted a Developing Country Initiative (DCI) in 2001. Five years later, the group was officially registered as the Cochrane Developing Countries Network (CDCN). CDCN has a co-ordinating group, consisting of people living in a low- or middle- income countries and representing different developing regions in the world.

The objectives are: 1) to describe the needs of people living in developing countries that may be addressed by the Cochrane Collaboration and promote the participation of people living in developing counties; 2) to analyse the mechanisms for networking in developing countries and actively promoting synergies from current entities devoted to health research; 3) to establish strategic alliances with other organizations whose activities are devoted to developing countries; and 4) to promote knowledge translation and dissemination in developing countries.

CDCN attempts to promote greater participation and inclusiveness within the Cochrane Collaboration for people living in developing countries, to become the information and resource point for health research activities related to evidence-based heath care for developing countries, and to reduce the inequity of access to systematic reviews.

CDCN promotes the preparation of Cochrane reviews relevant to health-care problems in low- and middle-income countries and encourage authors to address priorities in the developing world.