Launch of the South African GRADE Network

16 Oct 2019

The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) working group began in 2000 as an informal collaboration of people with an interest in addressing the shortcomings of grading systems in healthcare. The working group has developed a common, transparent approach to grading quality (or certainty) of evidence and strength of recommendations. Many international organisations have provided input into the development of the GRADE approach which is now considered the standard in guideline development.

A GRADE centre or network serves as the primary hub within a region for GRADE-related questions and for support and collaboration opportunities. The mission of GRADE centres/networks is to help the GRADE working group in the training, promotion, dissemination and implementation of GRADE by spreading the use of GRADE methodology in health guidelines and systematic reviews through advocacy, training and support of guideline developers and review authors; providing methodological support to national, regional or professional organisations and guideline development programmes; and conducting workshops and graduate courses on GRADE. 

The South African GRADE Network was formally launched at the African Cochrane Indaba held in Cape Town in March 2019. 

The South African GRADE Network has the following aims.

  • To bring together contributors to GRADE within South Africa.
  • To jointly agree on the priorities and strategies for advancing GRADE activities.
  • To build on the extensive research and training experience of individuals within the network, to coordinate and maximise GRADE training, research and guideline activities in South Africa. 

The network is jointly led and managed by Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care (CEBHC), Stellenbosch University, and Cochrane South Africa (CSA), South African Medical Research Council.

The network aims to bring together contributors to GRADE within South Africa, to then jointly agree on the priorities and strategies for advancing GRADE activities. The SA GRADE network will be well placed to contribute to capacity building and enhanced use of GRADE methodology within South Africa. The aim will be to link with and support researchers, policy makers and methodologists in use of and training in GRADE for systematic reviews and guidelines.

The GRADE Network was established to develop a unifying, transparent and sensible system for grading the certainty of evidence and making decisions.

The following are GRADE Centres:

McMaster University GRADE Center, Canada, Lanzhou University GRADE Center, China, Barcelona GRADE Center, Spain, Freiburg University GRADE Center, Germany, American University of Beirut GRADE Center, Lebanon, Lazio Region-ASL Rome GRADE Center, Italy, Javeriana Bogotá GRADE Center, Colombia, JBI Adelaide GRADE Centre, Australia, Melbourne GRADE Centre, Australia, Nottingham Ningbo Centre, China, Masaryk University Centre, Czech Republic and Poland.

GRADE Networks have been established in the United States, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and, most recently, South Africa.

For those interested to find out more, email: sa [at] gradeworkinggroup [dot] org

This news article was first featured in the Cochrane South Africa Newsletter (Volume 21, No 1,  July 2019) and is re-published here with kind permission from Cochrane South Africa.