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Report on ‘Systematic Review Workshop’ conducted by Cochrane South Asia, Kathmandu, June 2016

Tuesday, 26 Jul 2016

Evidence-informed healthcare in Nepal

Cochrane South Asia recently trained a group of Nepali researchers in ‘Developing Protocol for Cochrane Systematic Reviews’ during a five-day workshop organized by the Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC). This, hopefully, is the beginning of a fruitful partnership that will lead to quality primary and secondary research that will inform health policies in Nepal.

Nepal is a land-locked south Asian nation located between India and China, and is well-known for mountain tourism of the Himalayan ranges. The country has recently transitioned from being a kingdom to a democratic republic.

Nepal Health Research Council

Healthcare in Nepal is provided by state and private hospitals. The NHRC was established to formulate and undertake health and systems research to promote better health in the country.

Cochrane South Asia Workshop

In 2016, the NHRC engaged in discussions with Cochrane South Asia regarding ways to improve need-based research in Nepal. As part of this initiative, the NHRC identified a core group of clinicians and researchers who will conduct systematic reviews on priority health conditions. Resource people from Cochrane South Asia, Prof. Prathap Tharyan, Richard Kirubakaran, and Anand Viswanathan, conducted the workshop on ‘Developing Protocol for Cochrane Systematic Reviews’. The workshop was organized by the NHRC at Balthali, near Kathmandu, between 28 June 2016 and 02 July 2016.


22 health professionals, including clinicians, public health researchers, and Nepali medical journal editors attended the workshop. Six of the participants were women. The NHRC, Kathmandu Medical College, the Institute of Medicine, the Ministry of Health, the Nepal Public Health Foundation, BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences, and SOLID Nepal, an NGO, were the institutions that sponsored their employees to attend the workshop.

Workshop sessions

The training programme began with an introductory session on the need for evidence-based healthcare. Core research ideas identified by the participants were discussed, review groups were formed, and subsequent sessions were oriented towards developing protocols for systematic reviews on the identified topics. This included hands-on training on search strategy, setting up comparisons, selection of studies, data extraction, use of Review Manager (RevMan) software to perform meta-analysis, and GradePro software to prepare 'Summary of findings' tables. The participants organized into four groups, working on one systematic review each, with specific plans for progress. The topics covered included maternal-child health, non-communicable diseases, and retaining medical work-force in health services.


The participants completed an online feedback form about the utility of the workshop, the responses of which were resoundingly positive.

Plans for the future

Dr Khem B Karki, member secretary of the NHRC, was interviewed by Dr Prathap Tharyan, Director, Cochrane South Asia, along the side-lines of the workshop. Dr Karki expressed hopes for taking this initiative forward by generating health-evidence contextual to the needs of the people of Nepal. He spelt out plans to organize follow-up workshops focused on developing effective health policy briefs that could lead to better health in Nepal.

A full video of the interview is available on Cochrane South Asia’s YouTube channel

Report prepared by Anand Viswanathan, Cochrane South Asia