Background: The importance of evidence-based research and practice to support public health and policy decision-making is indispensable in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). Cochrane systematic reviews (CSR) form the heart of optimal guidance, clinical practice and shared decision making in high-income countries. Since Cochrane's inception in 1993, we have wanted to study where the Cochrane mission stands in the context of Bangladesh, especially at top academic institutes, organisations and the government, and particularly in health policy and health systems research (HP&HSR).
Objectives: To assess the production, use, promotion and training status of CSRs in Bangladesh for better health outcomes.
Methods: We searched the Cochrane Library and major electronic databases using free key words or concepts (29 December 2017), with particular focus on leading universities and organisations (central library or repository) including Google.
Results: The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh's Centres for systematic reviews of HP&HSR in LMICs is the front-runner: including numerous ongoing reviews, it published a CSR on social franchising and access to/quality of health services in LMICs involving Bangladeshi authors. Capacity-building initiatives are promising e.g. forming science base, training of medical/health professionals, engaging with stakeholders e.g. health systems researchers and undoubtedly the most warranted partner ever, the government health officials/policy makers. We found another CSR (Bangladeshi author/team composition) assessing diarrhoea vaccines. We couldn’t find any Cochrane happenings by Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. For the Independent University we retrieved old materials (2007 to 2010), e.g. workshop presentations. For many leading universities including BRAC University and James P Grant School of Public Health we retrieved no records and home page search fields were unable to perform basic searches, or pulled up (tertiary public medical institutions) Google/Custom search results.
Conclusions: Cochrane activities are significantly limited in Bangladesh, with little leadership from the key stakeholders. Evidence-based research can be impactful by involving patients or healthcare consumers and strategies to make this happen await future research.