Evidence Synthesis - Consolidating Evidence

Well-conducted, up-to-date systematic reviews provide “best evidence” when answering healthcare questions about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and researchers, clinicians, and public health policymakers can use findings from these reviews to inform their thinking.  There are now a substantive number of high-quality systematic reviews in NTDs, some of which – including the review of albendazole for filariasis and the review of community deworming programmes – have generated considerable debate. There is evidence that the field of NTDs has historically tended to ignore evidence from trials when formulating policies, although clearly this will have to change. There is, therefore, a need for researchers to know how to identify, read, appraise, interpret, and carry out systematic reviews.

Activities in this area include: an assembly of a special collection of Cochrane NTD reviews; an update of the Cochrane review of community deworming programmes for soil transmitted helminths; participation in the global debate on mass deworming compared with treating children with symptomatic infection; updating of Cochrane NTD reviews via the infectious diseases group; and one to one support and training to COUNTDOWN researchers on carrying out systematic reviews. In the coming years we will conduct two Cochrane reviews on NTDs which will focus on COUNTDOWN countries.