Evidence summaries to champion evidence-based humanitarian action and building resilient health systems
2Mc Master University, Canada
3Evidence Aid, England
4Health Systems and Services, PAHO, United States
5MRC Methodology Hub, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queens University Belfast, Ireland
Background: Disasters and other health emergencies are increasingly common and destructive, and health systems need to be resilient to these shocks. Those involved in health emergency and disaster risk management (Health EDRM), including policymakers, practitioners, and civil society, have a critical role to play. They need to access and understand research evidence so that they can use it to bring benefits and reduce harm. Global evidence synthesised in systematic reviews (SR) can provide this evidence and inform decisions. Evidence Aid (EA) is an international organization that champions evidence-based humanitarian action and is seeking to meet this need by preparing evidence summaries based on SR. We will describe our work to develop a collection of resilient health systems (RHS) evidence summaries, along with lessons identified for how these resources can support decision-making.
Methods: Since 2021, EA has built on its partnership with the Pan American Health Organization to identify and summarise SR relevant to RHS. We extracted key information about the review (citation details, funding, search date, eligibility criteria and countries in which included studies were conducted), with the findings and implications of the review and which aspects of equity it considered. This is presented in plain language summaries, which are freely available online in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish, some of them also available in Arabic, Chinese, German, Italian, and Japanese.
Results: As of March 2023, the RHS collection contains 200+ evidence summaries that contribute to building a stronger and more RHS. These sit alongside 600+ summaries produced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 150 summaries relevant to refugees and asylum seekers, 100 summaries of reviews on the physical and mental effects of disasters, and 110 summaries on preventing and treating acute malnutrition.
Conclusions: EA's 1000+ evidence summaries help bridge the gap between evidence producers and users involved in health system decision-making and Health EDRM. They provide a unique gateway into the evidence base for policymakers, practitioners, and the public, helping to ensure that disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and rehabilitation are effective and efficient.
Patient, public and/or healthcare consumer involvement: Our readers are patients/carers, students and stakeholders from multiple countries