Background: The Institute for Clinical Effectiveness and Health Policy operates since 2003 as an Argentine Cochrane Centre. We have performed epidemiological systematic reviews (SRs) related to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). We faced countless methodological problems and gained considerable experience in dealing with them.
Objectives: To describe our experience in conducting and disseminating epidemiological SRs in LAC between 2007-2016.
Methods: Cross-sectional study and qualitative analysis of lessons learned. Endpoints were number of primary research studies included, country of origin, study design, risk of bias, citations in social media, number of researchers and experts involved, and time devoted by them to the conduct of systematic reviews.
Results: A total of 19 systematic reviews were produced, including 1016 primary research studies. Brazil (35%) and Argentina (19%) contributed with the largest number of studies. The most frequent design was cross-sectional (35%). Only 26% of studies entailed low risk of bias (Table 1). The mean impact factor of publications was 3.04±1.51. In general terms, the number of references found in social media was very low. On average, each SR required 6 researchers who worked in the process for at least 5 hours per week for 8 months (See Table 2) We identified key aspects at different stages of the process.
Conclusions: Special approaches are needed in order to identify, summarise, interpret and disseminate epidemiological evidence in Latin America and the Caribbean.