Evidence-Based Health Care (EBHC) involves deliberate use of up-to-date research evidence in making decision about the treatment of patients or the general delivery of health services. While┬á Evidence based health care has been practiced in developed countries much longer, in Africa the approach to health service delivery is still a mystery to many and needs a lot of advocacy work to take root.
November 24th 2011, over 80 practitioners, academics, lobbyists and other stakeholders convened at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala to take stock of what is being done and how best to strengthen EBHC in Africa. ┬á
Participants in the symposium came from Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya among other countries on the continent.
Opening the symposium, the Dean School of Medicine Professor Harriet Mayanja, who was also the Chief convener, said that health care based in evidence is cheaper, acceptable and value-focused.
She said the four pillars on Evidence Based Health Care in Africa (EBHCA) are collaboration and networking, course development and implementation which will create a pool of trainers of trainers in African countries, African systematic reviews and research synthesis which will determine the priorities of African countries, researching and optimizing evidence-based health care and dissemination.
Dr. Kimberly Boer of the Royal Tropical Institute, The Netherlands, noted that evidence based health care is needed to improve clinical care and patient outcomes, and improve patient quality of life. She also cautioned that new does not necessarily always mean better. ┬á
Dr. Jane Acheng, a paediatrician at Makerere University College of Health Sciences gave an excellent presentation on the College has worked to ensure that its research on malaria treatment is incorporated into the malaria management policy in Uganda.┬á┬á
Her presentation gave hope to participants that there is still opportunity for academics and researchers to impact health policy in Africa.
Other lessons of research-t-policy-to-practice that were shared were in the area of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine trials and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV in Uganda and other African countries.