The US Network was honored to be invited as an official observer to the 72nd WHO Session on the Americas / 58th PAHO Directing Council, which took place virtually on September 28 and 29th, 2020. PAHO, an international public health agency focused on the Americas, serves as a regional office for the World Health Organization (WHO). The PAHO Directing Council is a key meeting that brings together ministers of health, policymakers, technical staff and other stakeholders to decide on the health priorities for collective action in the region.
Representatives of the Cochrane US Network, Cochrane Canada, and the Cochrane Iberoamerican Network attended the meeting on 28 and 29 September. The US Network provided a statement on COVID19 work being undertaken in the US, and this statement, combined with the statements of Cochrane Canada and Cochrane IberoAmerica, was presented live during the session by Cochrane Canada's Adrienne Stevens.
Our statement highlighted how Cochrane Groups in the PAHO Region are supporting an evidence-informed COVID-19 response and calls on PAHO Member States to provide adequate resources and funding for evidence synthesis as the pandemic continues.
Cochrane Americas Groups Full Statement:
COVID-19 has emphasized the critical importance of evidence-informed global health policy. Governments, healthcare professionals and researchers in the PAHO Region and worldwide continue to seek answers to questions related to the treatment of patients, and how best to protect populations.
Cochrane is a global leader in producing high-quality synthesized evidence to inform health decision making. We are working closely with WHO and PAHO by producing rapid reviews and living systematic reviews to answer COVID-19-related priority questions. Cochrane has launched and will maintain one of the largest and most sophisticated registries of COVID-19 studies and a living synthesis of COVID-19 study results.
Cochrane’s Geographic Groups in the PAHO Region are also active in supporting an evidence-informed COVID-19 response:
• Cochrane Canada, with the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases, Research Methods and Recommendations at McMaster University, has led WHO-commissioned rapid systematic reviews on priority topics. With funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, they are also building a map of living recommendations from high-quality guidelines on COVID-19 that, for decision-makers in the region, can be contextualized. PAHO is a valued partner and contributes the base internacional de guías GRADE (BIGG) as a central source of guidelines.
• The Cochrane Iberoamerican Network has produced Evidencias COVID-19, an information resource on COVID-19 in Spanish. Cochrane Iberomérica has also integrated over 500 COVID-19 recommendations (in English and Spanish) within DianaSalud, a database containing guidance on the implementation and de-implementation of healthcare interventions based on their clinical value.
• Cochrane US Network has developed a COVID-19 repository highlighting the work of its affiliates, including a rapid review on universal screening; affiliate-led reviews contributing to WHO guidelines on breastfeeding and hypertension during COVID-19; and the development of rapid guidelines with professional societies.
With the pandemic evolving, the questions that policy makers need to address change. We therefore call on PAHO Member States to support evidence-informed decision making by taking action to provide adequate resources and funding for evidence synthesis given the challenges ahead.
Read more about PAHO and the Directing Council, and watch the access session materials: https://www.paho.org/en/governing-bodies/directing-council