READ-It project: catalysing influential nutrition evidence synthesis and capacity building in LMICs

Date & Time
Tuesday, September 5, 2023, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Location Name
Session Type
Global health and equity
Naude C1, Durao S2, Brand A1, Visser M1, Schoonees A1, Gordon S1, Volmink J1, Garner P3, Young T1
1Centre for Evidence-based Health Care, Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
2Cochrane South Africa, South African Medical Research Council, South Africa
3Department of Clinical Sciences, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Introduction The Research, Evidence and Development Initiative (READ-It), funded by UK aid through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (300342-104) provides core sustained financial support to South African institutions aimed at improving health outcomes in the poor and vulnerable in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Nutrition focus and outputs One of READ-It’s focus areas is nutrition, where key policy areas include the double burden of malnutrition, infant and young child nutrition and dietary strategies for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Here, we describe the nutrition outputs enabled by READ-It over a 5-year period. Priority-setting: Contributions to prioritisation for global nutrition guidelines, including producing four scoping reviews on priority topics, and partnering in the Cochrane obesity gap analysis. Reviews with impact: The production of 10 Cochrane and 3 non-Cochrane reviews, 5 of which have informed global guidelines on priority policy areas including school food environments, population-level sodium reduction and prevention of child wasting. Two reviews addressing dietary strategies for NCDs have achieved high attention scores (Altmetric ˃100 in 1 year). Responses to urgent evidence requests from global and national decision-makers have produced a rapid review, two rapid overviews and a rapid review of prognostic factors. Working with guideline developers: Sustained stakeholder engagement with decision-makers and provision of content and methods inputs, with topics covering childhood acute malnutrition, policies to protect children from harmful food marketing, fiscal policies to promote healthy diets, nutrition labelling for promoting healthy diets and nutrition, infant feeding in Zika virus transmission areas and childhood obesity. Building nutrition evidence synthesis leadership: Developed through 13 novice LMIC authors (9 women) ‘learning by doing’ in partner-country synthesis teams. We have extended methods expertise by learning qualitative and prognostic evidence synthesis production from experienced authors and participating in the Risk of Bias 2 pilot. Conclusions READ-It has boosted nutrition evidence synthesis by LMIC teams for the benefit of LMICs, enabling impact across multiple ecosystem elements including priority-setting; reliable synthesis; and influencing evidence-informed decision-making, both globally and regionally.
Patient, public and/or healthcare consumer involvement: No direct involvement.