Background: In such a large country as Brazil (the world's fifth largest nation), it is cumbersome to perform educational activities in regions far from the Cochrane Brazil Centre, in the state of São Paulo, as people may have to travel thousands of kilometers to attend systematic review or meta-analysis workshops.
Objectives: To disseminate a pioneering initiative for surpassing barriers in spreading education and training within a continental country.
Methods: Cochrane and Cochrane Brazil decided to take action to shorten these distances. The solution was the creation of Cochrane Affiliated Centres, subordinated to Cochrane Brazil, in different states, and sought collaboration among systematic review authors and experienced professors in each region. Last March, these partners have agreed to voluntarily collaborate with workshop training activities locally, as well as translation and dissemination efforts, and procedures for the official launching began.
Results: Five affiliated centres were created: Paraíba (in the city of João Pessoa), Rio de Janeiro (in the city of Petropolis), Amazon Region (in Belém, state of Pará), Ceará (in the capital, Fortaleza) and Minas Gerais (in the city of Muriaé). Each affiliated centre has a co-ordinator, responsible for leading the proposed activities and for finding the necessary human and financial resources (pending conflicts of interest evaluation by Cochrane Brazil). The co-ordinators were enrolled among alumni of the graduate course of Evidence Based Health at Universidade Federal de São Paulo and among participants of the Distance Learning Course of Evidence Based Health. A 3-year agreement was signed and some activities have already began, even before the official inauguration of some centres, as shown in Table 1, which reveals clear demand for these services to be provided locally.
Conclusions: The creation of affiliated centres for concentrating efforts in large countries as Brazil might help to overcome the challenges of training for systematic reviews methodology and of disseminating quality evidence. Cochrane Brazil's 20-years experience will help the affiliated centres.