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Grant to enhance evidence-informed guidelines for newborn and child health
Author: Media Statement / Mediaverklaring – Cochrane South Africa
Published: 12/04/2022

The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) has awarded three-year (2022 – 2025) funding of over 3 million Euro to a partnership coordinated by Cochrane South Africa (SA), South African Medical Research Council along with partners from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Western Norway University of Applied Science, Stellenbosch University (South Africa), Cochrane Nigeria at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (Malawi), Cochrane and the Stiftelsen MAGIC Evidence Ecosystem (Norway). 

The project is titled GELA - Global Evidence, Local Adaptation and will aim to enhance evidence-informed guideline recommendations for newborn and young child health in three countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

GELA aims to maximise the impact of evidence for poverty-related diseases by increasing the capacity of decision makers and researchers to use global research to develop locally relevant guidelines for newborn and child health. The project will support decision makers in South Africa, Malawi and Nigeria, and will build on and add value to the large-scale programme of child-health guideline development led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), with adaptation and implementation led by the WHO Afro regional office, country offices and national ministries.

“Despite progress in the health of newborns and children, most sub-Saharan African countries have not met the Sustainable Development Goals for under-five mortality," said Dr Tamara Kredo of Cochrane SA. “In the context of Covid-19, even though most children present with mild conditions, the consequences of the pandemic are being felt on health systems and services, hampering healthcare delivery to children and increasing poverty, food insecurity and inequity. To address these issues, policy makers and practitioners not only need evidence-based guidance on effective clinical care, they also need guidance on how to implement this care efficiently within the context of their own health systems, considering inequity (in health and access to services) caused by poverty and other factors."

“MAGIC is thrilled to be partner in GELA," said Dr Per Olav Vandvik of the University of Oslo. “The need to allow WHO guidelines to make an impact in member states is critical. Now is the time to show this is possible and we believe this strong consortium of partners is excellently placed to get the work done."

“Clinical practice guidelines offer a means to bridge the gap between research evidence and practice and are essential policy-implementation tools supporting implementation of effective, cost-effective healthcare," added Kredo.

This project is part of the EDCTP2 programme supported by the European Union (grant number RIA2020S-3303-GELA).


The specific objectives are to:

ENGAGE: Identify child and newborn priority topics and the capacity needs of guideline panels.

SYNTHESISE: Support policy makers and researchers to find, appraise and use best-available systematic reviews and guidelines.

DECIDE: Support guideline panels' capacity to contextualise global evidence using transparent, digitally supported standards and WHO methods for guideline development.

SHARE: Disseminate and communicate guideline recommendations to healthcare providers and the public using innovative and user-friendly formats and digital platforms.

LEARN: Strengthen capacity of researchers and policy makers for all aspects of guideline development, adaptation and dissemination.

EVALUATE: Monitor and evaluate policy makers' experiences of this approach, preferences for receiving evidence, capacity development and overall impact of the project on evidence-informed decision-making processes.

GELA will incorporate a multi-faceted, multidisciplinary research and capacity-strengthening programme using primary and secondary research, guideline-adaptation methodology and digital platforms to support delivery and dynamic local adaptation. This is enabled through a project team of African and international leaders in the field of evidence-based healthcare and guidelines methods partnering with national ministries in Malawi, Nigeria and South Africa, the WHO and its Afro regional office and the civil society group, Peoples Health Movement.

The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) is a public-public partnership between countries in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, supported by the European Union. EDCTP focuses on enhancing research capacity and accelerating the development of new or improved medical interventions for the identification, treatment and prevention of poverty-related infectious diseases, including emerging and re-emerging diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, through all phases of clinical trials, with emphasis on phase II and III trials.




Cochrane South Africa

Cochrane South Africa (SA) is an intramural research unit of the South African Medical Research Council and is part of the global, independent Cochrane network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers and people interested in health. It aims to promote evidence-informed healthcare decision-making in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa by producing high-quality, relevant, accessible systematic reviews and other synthesised research evidence.


Cochrane, UK

Cochrane focuses on producing relevant and timely synthesised evidence and is a global advocate for evidence-informed health and health care. We work towards a world of improved health where decisions about health and health care are informed by high-quality, relevant and up-to-date synthesised research evidence. Our members and supporters come from more than 130 countries, worldwide.


MAGIC, Norway

The independent non-profit Norwegian MAGIC Evidence Ecosystem Foundation was set up in 2018 to provide sustainable and professional services to our customers (e.g. MAGICapp) while pursuing the evidence ecosystem vision through continued research and innovation.

MAGIC leads the work package on disseminating and communicating CPG recommendations to healthcare providers and the public. GELA will make use of innovative formats and the MAGIC authoring and publication platform (MAGICapp) to adapt, translate WHO guidelines for national and local use. MAGIC will also support development and adaptation of the guideline recommendations, customised to the needs of decision makers and making use of the GRADE EtD framework.


Centre for Evidence-based healthcare, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

The CEBHC is a recognised leader nationally and globally for research and practice in teaching and learning for evidence-based health care (EBHC). Based at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences they support undergraduate and post-graduate training in all aspects of EBHC. They lead a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology programme recognised throughout the continent. Leads at SU have spearheaded several projects linked to evidence synthesis, knowledge translation, building capacity of policymakers and researchers for evidence-informed policymaking, and supported national and international guideline projects.


Cochrane Nigeria

Cochrane Nigeria at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital's Institute of Tropical Disease Research and Prevention is involved in the production and dissemination of relevant and priority systematic reviews of healthcare interventions, provision of technical support for development of trustworthy clinical practice guidelines and knowledge translation activities involving the media. Our long term strategic goal is to strengthen stakeholders' capacity to use evidence to inform decisions for positive individual and population health outcomes within Nigeria and the West African sub-region.


Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Malawi

Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS) is a public-owned university established in 2019 under the act of parliament by merging the Kamuzu College of Nursing (est. 1979) and College of Medicine (est. 1991). As a key government partner, the university continues to serve the Malawi nation through provision of quality education and innovation through research as key to the health welfare of Malawi, the region and beyond. Through research the university generates evidence that informs government policies and practice in the health sector. KUHeS is an internationally recognised institution currently leading the teaching of systematic reviews, evidence-based healthcare and formulation of evidence-informed health guidelines in Malawi.


NIPH, Norway

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) acts as a national competence institution placed directly under the Ministry of Health and Care Services. Our social mission is to provide knowledge and systematic reviews to contribute to good public health efforts and healthcare services. In this way we contribute to better health, both in Norway and globally.

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