Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: Cochrane library

Cochrane library

In February 2007, India created history by becoming the first, and only, low-income country to purchase a national provision for all its residents to access the online resources of The Cochrane Library.

This initiative of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is an example of responsible leadership in healthcare, as it enables all people in India with an internet connection to access without further payment, reliable, independent, and updated evidence for the safety and efficacy of the myriad treatments in use covering all branches and specialties of medicine, surgery, nursing, dentistry, rehabilitation, as well as other aspects of healthcare delivery.

The first step in effective healthcare is ready access to reliable evidence of whether treatments work, and if they do, how effective they are likely to be; and how safe.

The Cochrane Library provides a one-stop portal for the best evidence available on the efficacy and safety of interventions that healthcare professionals, health policy makers, and consumers of healthcare interventions need to make well-informed decisions that concern their health.

The Cochrane Library is a collection of six databases at the core of which is The

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR). The April 2011 release of this resource has over 6500 articles, making this the world's largest collection of such reviews.

These systematically assembled research articles summarize the results of well-conducted clinical trials from around the world that evaluate how effective and safe healthcare interventions are for a particular condition compared to other interventions in use for that condition, or to no interventions.

All reviews have, in addition to the full article that can be downloaded, short abstracts, and plain language summaries meant for the lay person to understand.

Cochrane Library also contains the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), the world's largest collection of bibliographic information, often with a summary, of clinical trials from published and unpublished sources, identified by groups within the Cochrane Collaboration.

India is now not only a user of health research generated by others but also a significant contributor to providing evidence of the effects of healthcare interventions.

However, if this investment by the Indian government to ensure that people in India have access to research evidence they can trust are to be fully realized, more people should use resources in The Cochrane Library as the first point of reference for evidence to inform health decisions.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India