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GANEO: building bridges between clinical practice and research evidence in Africa.

Posted on 11 August 2015 // Clinical practice guidelines

Health care providers want to give their patients the best possible care. To do this, they need to keep up to date with the evolving body of scientific research, and combine this scientific knowledge with their own clinical experience and each individual patient's circumstances and preferences. This is evidence-based practice.

Available evidence has shown that adherence to evidence-based practice improves the processes and outcomes of health care. Therefore the application of evidence-based practice has become state of the art for clinical and public health decision making in most European countries, USA, etc. These countries have set up programmes and infrastructures dedicated to synthesizing evidence and producing evidence-based guidelines. For example, in UK, the national institute for clinical excellence (NICE) produces UK adapted clinical practice guidelines, in France it is the national authority for health. Furthermore, health care professional societies such as the European society of Cardiology (ESC), the American diabetes association (ADA), etc., also developed evidence-based guidelines outlining optimal approaches to early detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease.  

Up to now evidence-based practice guidelines have not been widely developed and implemented in African health systems. One might argue that health care providers in Africa can use available European or USA evidence-based guidelines to support their clinical decision, which is what they actually do, as there are limited African guidelines. However, these guidelines are generally not adapted to African context. The World Health Organization (WHO) had pointed out the limited utility clinical guidelines developed in high income countries for resource-constrained countries. Optimal practice in high income countries might be inappropriate or inapplicable to resource-constrained countries for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to:

  • Inadequate numbers of trained health care providers
  • Inadequate diagnostic and treatment infrastructure
  • Later presentation to health care providers
  • Use of traditional medicines and high rate of self-medication
  • Lack of drugs
  • Inadequate transportation systems
  • Cultural, social or religious barriers to accessing the health system

To fully capture the health benefits of evidence-based health care, it is critical that health care providers in Africa rely on relevant and contextualized evidence based guidelines to identify the most appropriate and cost – effective management strategies.

GANEO has set up a collaborative and flexible interdisciplinary model to develop evidence-based clinical practice guidelines adapted to African context. With his model, GANEO builds bridges between clinical practice and research evidence, and thus accelerate the translation of research evidence into practice. By accelerating the translation of evidence into practice GANEO seeks to make tomorrow’s health care possible today in Africa.