SciDev.Net Reports On Developing Country Health Care Providers, Scientists Access To Research

SciDev.Net reports on two recent studies published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal which look at how frequently health care providers and researchers in developing countries access research-based evidence. The studies “[t]he researchers, who examined research and practice in four areas at the heart of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals [MDGs], surveyed 1,500 healthcare providers and just over 300 researchers in 10 [low- and middle-income countries] – China, Ghana, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Laos, Mexico, Pakistan, Senegal and Tanzania,” the news service writes.

Based on the health care provider analysis, the researchers found that while 85 percent of respondents reported “research was likely to change their clinical practice if performed and published in their own country,” according to the study, “18 percent read journals from their own country once a month or more.” In addition, the health care provider analysis found that “five to eight percent of the practitioners, who worked in the fields of malaria prevention, contraception, childhood diarrhoea or childhood tuberculosis, read scientific journals from high-income countries … once a month or more,” the news service writes.

“Locally conducted or published research has played an important role in changing the professional practice of health care providers surveyed in low- and middle-income countries. Increased investments in local research, or at least in locally adapted publications of research-based evidence from other settings, are therefore needed,” the study authors write. “Although access to the Internet was viewed as a significant factor in whether research-based evidence led to concrete changes in practice, few respondents reported having easy access to the Internet. Therefore, efforts to improve Internet access in clinical settings need to be accelerated,” they conclude (Guindon et al., 5/3).

Of the 300 researchers surveyed, “less than half … were engaged in bridging activities, such as: providing systematic reviews of the research literature; providing access to a searchable database; or establishing or maintaining long-term partnerships with doctors and nurses,” SciDev.Net adds.

The article includes comments by study co-author Francisco Becerra-Posada, a senior consultant for the Council on Health Research for Development in Latin America, and Miguel Gonzalez Block, director of the Centre for Health Systems Research at the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico (Friedman, 5/13).

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