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Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2011 Mar;5(1):69-72. doi: 10.1001/dmp.2010.32.1026. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

Supporting evidence-based health care in crises: what information do humanitarian organizations need?

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Australasian Cochrane Centre, Monash University, Alfred Centre, 99 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Victoria 3004, Australia.


In crisis situations, there is an enormous burden of disease and very limited resources. To achieve the best possible health outcomes in these situations and ensure that scarce resources are not wasted, knowledge from health research needs to be translated into practice. We investigated what information from health research was needed by humanitarian aid workers in crisis settings and how it could be best provided. Semistructured interviews were conducted by telephone with 19 humanitarian aid workers from a range of organizations around the world and the results analyzed thematically. Participants identified a clear and currently unmet need for access to high-quality health research to support evidence-based practice in crisis situations. They emphasized that research into delivery of health care was potentially more valuable than research into the effectiveness of particular clinical interventions and highlighted the importance of including contextual information to enable the relevance of the research to be assessed. They suggested that providers of health research information and humanitarian aid organizations work together to develop these resources.

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