Series: Clinical Epidemiology in South Africa. Paper 1: Evidence-based health care and policy in Africa: past, present, and future

J Clin Epidemiol. 2017 Mar;83:24-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2016.06.006. Epub 2016 Jun 24.


Africa has high disease burden and health system challenges but is making progress in recognizing, accepting, and adopting evidence-based health care (EBHC). In this article, we reflect on the developments of the past 2 decades and consider further steps that will help with the translation of reliable research results into the decision making process. There has been a rapid growth in various initiatives to promote EBHC in the African region. These include the conduct and reporting of primary and secondary research, research capacity development and supportive initiatives, access to information, and work with decision makers in getting research into clinical guidelines and health policies. Much, however, still needs to be done to improve the impact on health in the region. A multipronged approach consisting of regionally relevant well-conducted research addressing priority health problems, increased uptake of research in health care policy and practice, dedicated capacity development initiatives to support the conduct as well as use of research, facilitated by wider collaboration, and equitable partnerships will be important. Working together in mutually supporting partnerships is key to advancing both evidence-informed health care practices and better health.

Keywords: Africa; Collaboration; Evidence-based health care; Policy; Reflection; Relevance.

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Review Literature as Topic
  • South Africa