Background: Rapid-evidence synthesis is gaining popularity due to the demand of stakeholders and users for top-priority questions on healthcare. Rapid-evidence synthesis using the Cochrane methods, which represents the most rigorous methods in systematic review, is a challenge. In response to on-going publicity on the negative health effects of palm oil, the Malaysian Ministry of Heath commissioned the National Institute of Health (NIH) to conduct a series of rapid evidence synthesis to evaluate the benefits and harms of palm oil and related products in 7 major health-related areas.
Objective: This poster describes our efforts in performing a series of rapid evidence-synthesis projects using the Cochrane systematic reviews methods in a cross-institutional collaboration under the NIH, among systematic review authors in Ministry of Health, Malaysia.
Methods: A group of researchers came together to prepare a report on palm oil in the Ministry of Health Malaysia. Leveraging on the expertise in primary research and systematic review, a programme was developed to provide trainings in systematic review using Cochrane method to answer the question by policy makers on the effect of palm oil on health. These trainings were aim to improve the quality and efficiency of conducting systematic reviews. The researchers were divided into 6 groups according to area of interest on effect of palm oil namely obesity, cardiovascular and stroke, hypercholesterolemia, arthrosclerosis, cancer and diabetes.
A Cochrane trainer was assigned to conduct training for all groups. Weekly meetings, with rigorous hands-on training were conducted among the researchers from August to December 2016.
Result: A total of 20 weeks were taken to complete the evidence synthesis.
Conclusion: These trainings and the practice of rigorous preparation of systematic review using Cochrane method is a very useful tool in synthesising reliable evidence for support of decision policy making. The exercise also provided a platform for capacity building and transfer of knowledge and increase awareness for the usefulness of evidence-based practices.