Needs assessment on the use of systematic reviews in disaster settings: Evidence Aid

Abstract text
Systematic reviews are key to well-informed decision-making in health care and this recognition is growing in other areas where choices have to be made between different interventions or actions. Since it was established in 2004, Evidence Aid has been working to improve timely access to knowledge relevant to natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies. It is a global, independent initiative seeking to improve the use of systematic reviews to assess effectiveness of interventions in disaster risk reduction, planning, response and recovery.

To identify the attitudes of agencies and others involved in humanitarian response towards systematic reviews, priorities for evidence, and preferences for access to this information.

An online needs assessment survey is ongoing ( and will expand to include in-depth interviews with key informants and qualitative analysis.

Quantitative analyses for the first 85 respondents show that 83% think that systematic reviews are useful in disasters, and almost all ‘agreed’ (25%) or ‘strongly agreed’ (71%) that humanitarian interventions should be based on reliable knowledge of which interventions work, which don’t work and which are potentially harmful. Inadequate access was the most commonly reported barrier to the use of systematic reviews (70%).

Respondents favour access to full reviews supplemented by comments from relevant experts (61%) to help place the findings of the review in context for the disaster setting. They would like reviews to be online (83%). Of the 25 respondents who have worked for donor agencies, 83% said that systematic reviews could be used to assess the likely effects of interventions before providing funding.

There is a strong need and desire for systematic reviews amongst humanitarian workers and donors to improve their interventions and actions, and to assess the impact of their efforts. They wish these reviews to be accompanied by contextual comments about the findings.
Kayabu B1, Clarke M2, Allen C3
1 Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
2 Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
3 Evidence Aid, UK
Presenting author and contact person
Presenting author: 
Claire Allen
Contact person Affiliation Country
Claire Allen (Contact this person) Cochrane Operations Unit and Evidence Aid United Kingdom
Date and Location
Oral session C15O2
Wednesday 3 October 2012 - 11:20 - 11:40