TCD Research Centre Takes Leading Role in International Response Initiative for Natural Disasters

Posted on: 18 March 2011

Trinity College’s Centre for Global Health has teamed up with the Cochrane Collaboration to develop an international initiative called Evidence Aid to provide reliable, up-to-date evidence on interventions that might be considered in the context of natural disasters and other major healthcare emergencies such as health, shelter, communication, construction, education, security and support for displaced people.

Established following the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in December 2004, Evidence Aid uses knowledge from research based evidence accompanied by commentaries and contextual information.  The initiative’s goal is to improve outcomes in the aftermath of natural disasters by providing high quality, accessible evidence in an effective and timely way by engaging with those who need the evidence, those who produce it and those who translate the knowledge on the ground.  In the wake of the recent earthquake off the coast of Japan and the subsequent tsunami, Evidence Aid has provided a body of information on healthcare interventions relevant to flooding and treating injuries that are available to all online.

Speaking about the project, Evidence Aid co-ordinator at TCD’s Centre for Global Health, Dr Bonnix Kayabu, said: “The technology, resources, partnerships and knowledge are all falling into place for Evidence Aid.  The time has come to ensure that those making decisions about services and interventions following natural disasters have access to the most reliable evidence for those choices.”  Professor Michael Clarke of the School of Nursing and Midwifery who works with Dr Kayabu on the project continued: “There is an urgent need to know what works, what doesn’t work and what is unproven for disaster settings. This is not limited to health care and we are seeking and building new partnerships to deliver a collection of knowledge, ranging from a targeted summary, through to a systematic review and its underlying sources. This will be available free of charge and packaged in ways that make it accessible on the internet, on paper and using mobile phone technology.”

Humanitarian workers and agencies are increasingly recognising the need to provide the most effective and efficient interventions but confront many challenges when using current sources of knowledge.  Trinity’s involvement in Evidence Aid will help provide agencies and people planning for or responding to natural disasters with easy access to a body of relevant research, helping people, communities and societies recover following a natural disaster.

The Centre for Global Health at TCD is a multidisciplinary research centre that endeavours to strengthen health systems through interdisciplinary and multi-country approach to critical analysis, research-in-action and capacity building by creating a network of experts that develop and implement a research agenda that addresses some of the key problems in Global Health.  The Cochrane Collaboration is an international network of approximately 28,000 people in over 100 countries who between them systematically evaluate the effectiveness of healthcare interventions.  Their input helps healthcare providers, policy makers, patients, their advocates and carers, make well informed decisions about human healthcare by preparing, updating and promoting the accessibility of primary research.  Evidence Aid will not only improve access for people and organisations planning for and responding to natural disasters and healthcare emergencies but will also bridge the evidence-practice gap.