Background: Evidence based Health Care (EBHC) is recognized internationally as a key competency for health care professionals. The practice of EBHC involves converting information needs into answerable questions; finding the best evidence; critically appraising the evidence for validity and usefulness; applying the results of the appraisal into practice; and evaluating performance. To inform EBHC capacity development initiatives, we assessed current training initiatives in the region.
Objectives: To identify current training activities in the field of EBHC.
Methods: We contacted medical schools, organizations and institutions as well as known experts in the field and searched the Internet. Information obtained was summarized in a table format and circulated to key contacts to validate.
Results: Of 64 medical schools in the region, only 40 had available e-mail addresses. Of the 40 e-mails sent, mail delivery failed in six cases (15%) and four responded (10%). Nineteen institutions and organizations were contacted by sending 38 e-mails to various contact persons. Mail delivery failed in two cases (5%) and 14 responded (37%). Additional information on two training initiatives came from the Internet. We identified 37 training programs. Seven universities and 10 other organizations present these programs; 16 (43%) of the courses are presented in South Africa. Three are postgraduate degrees (Clinical Epidemiology (two), Applied Clinical Research and EBM,); one is a postgraduate diploma (Research Methodology); six are modules within university degrees (two undergraduate and four postgraduate); 19 short courses (≤1 week) and eight intensive courses (≥2 weeks) on EBHC. Two of the courses are e-learning courses, while three are blended.
Conclusions: Despite low response, the findings indicate a paucity of EBHC capacity development programs in the African region. There is a need to use innovative strategies to increase the reach of EBHC capacity development programs.