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.
NHMRC Evidence Briefs
This year the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is pleased to introduce a new type of health advice - the evidence brief.
Evidence briefs are modelled on a format used by the World Health Organisation, and aim to present research findings in a concise and user-friendly way.
It is intended they will be developed quickly in response to current clinical issues, and will be based on the highest quality evidence.
For topics of importance to Australians and the Australian health care system, they will highlight what we know and do not yet know, what works and what does not work in a wide range of clinical situations. Expert commentators will be commissioned to help interpret the evidence and, where the evidence is compelling, NHMRC will issue recommendations for practice.
NHMRC is pleased to partner with the Cochrane Collaboration, through its Australasian Cochrane Centre, to develop the first evidence briefs based on the findings of Cochrane reviews which are of particular relevance to Australia.
NHMRC seeks your feedback on the first two evidence briefs:
- Evidence brief on decision aids for people facing health treatment or screening decisions
- Evidence brief on exercise programs for people with dementia
Closing date for submissions is the 13 April 2015.
To access the draft evidence briefs and for further information about making a submission, please go to the NHMRC Public Consultation website or contact the Clinical Guidelines Program team on (03) 8866 0407.
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.