The Australian Government funds the work of the Cochrane Collaboration in Australia through the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Started in 1993, the Cochrane Collaboration is an international network of more than 31,000 dedicated contributors from over 120 countries, working together to help healthcare practitioners, policy-makers, patients, their advocates and carers make well-informed decisions about health care, by preparing, updating, and promoting Cochrane Reviews.
The Cochrane Collaboration’s work is internationally recognised as the benchmark for high quality information about the effectiveness of health care. Its systematic reviews inform decisions about health care, using comprehensive, reliable and relevant sources of evidence on which to base these daily decisions.
Australia’s contribution to the Collaboration is significant - 10% of Cochrane reviewers are Australian, and together they contribute, on a voluntary basis, to almost 20% of all Cochrane reviews.
The Australian Government has committed $4.7 million to fund eleven Cochrane entities located throughout Australia: the Australasian Cochrane Centre, which coordinates Cochrane Collaboration activities in Australia and the wider region, 5 Australian based Cochrane Review Groups, and Satellites of 5 Cochrane Review Groups that have their primary base overseas.
The funding will enable these entities to continue their review work during 2013-2016 in specialist fields including public health, consumers and communication, breast cancer, and acute respiratory infections.
Each Cochrane group funded by NHMRC has made a significant contribution to knowledge in their area, both nationally and internationally. For example, the most popular review internationally in 2011 looked at interventions for preventing obesity in children; this review was a product of the Cochrane Public Health Group based in Melbourne.
The review of Neuraminidase Inhibitors (Tamiflu - oseltamivir and Relenza – zanamivir), produced by the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group, has made a significant contribution to debate internationally around the usefulness of these drugs in the treatment of influenza.
The review of Trastuzumab (Herceptin) for early breast cancer, produced by the Cochrane Breast Cancer Group in Sydney, will help women balance the benefits and the harms of this treatment when making decisions about their care.
The Cochrane Library
Australian Government support of Cochrane Collaboration activities has been ongoing since 2001. Through a funded five year agreement the NHMRC has ensured access to the Cochrane Library (where systematic reviews undertaken by the Cochrane Collaboration are published) will continue to 2017.
The Cochrane Library can be accessed at www.thecochranelibrary.com and access is free to all residents of Australia.
The work done by the Cochrane Collaboration helps to achieve real health gains for Australians. The NHMRC is proud to work with the Cochrane Collaboration to support the transfer of research outcomes into improved knowledge, better health systems and improved treatment for individuals and their families.
For more information on the Cochrane Collaboration visit the Collaboration’s website at www.cochrane.org, and for more information about what the Collaboration is doing in our region, including how to get involved, visit the Australasian Cochrane Centre’s website at acc.cochrane.org.