26 September 2011
The first Evidence Aid Conference took place on 26 September 2011, in Oxford England, to help identify ways in which we can play a role in the provision of evidence for key issues in practice and in the highlighting of key questions for research. The conference, in association with the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, brought together more than 70 people from a diverse range of organisations. There were delegates from the Belgian Red Cross, US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, The Cochrane Collaboration, Department for International Development (UK), Health Protection Agency (UK), International Committee for Red Cross, Lancet, Médecins Sans Frontières, OXFAM, Public Library of Science (PLoS), Research4Life, Save the Children, UNHCR and the World Health Organization.
Discussions reinforced the rationale and need for Evidence Aid, which was highlighted at the start of the day by speakers who were broadcast live on the internet and recorded. They included Carl Heneghan (Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, UK) and Jonathan Abrahams (World Health Organization) who reiterated the need for evidence in disasters, Oleg Bilukha (US Center for Disease Control and Prevention) who spoke about the measurement of indicators in humanitarian emergencies, Bonnix Kayabu (Evidence Aid Co-ordinator, Ireland) who described the early findings of the needs assessment survey (part funded by The Cochrane Collaboration) and Les Roberts (Columbia University, USA) who gave a thought-provoking talk about the issue of data quality during humanitarian emergencies and posed the question “Can anyone do anything with it?”. The participants then split into groups to discuss the availability and quality of data in disasters; indicators and benchmarks in humanitarian emergencies; barriers to the use of evidence in humanitarian emergencies; the role of systematic reviews as a source of evidence; and why evidence is on the agenda, noting the increasing desire of donors to ensure the effectiveness of the interventions and actions they fund. In the feedback session which followed, the participants agreed on the importance of identifying key issues and questions for practice and for new research. A writing committee met the day after the conference to prepare an outline for the future of Evidence Aid and discussions will continue with stakeholders to achieve the aims of Evidence Aid. This will include the identification of those areas in which evidence is particularly needed, generating a research agenda which will be a critical ingredient for the development of Evidence Aid and evidence in general. As this moves forward, Evidence Aid will work closely with organizations, such as WHO, involved in related consultations.
For more information, contact Claire Allen, Knowledge Manager, Evidence Aid.
Jonathan Abrahams: The need for evidence in disasters [pdf file]
Oleg Bilukha: Measurement of indicators in humanitarian emergencies [pdf file]
Bonnix Kayabu: Preliminary data from the needs assesment on the use of systematic reviews in disaster settings [pdf file]
Les Roberts: The humanitarian relief evidence problems and what can be done [pdf file]
Photographs and video:
Carl Heneghan welcoming participants to the conference [jpg file]
Mike Clarke opens the conference [jpg file]
Oleg Bilukha discusses core indicators [jpg file]