Evidence about the effectiveness of health care interventions is necessary for informed health care decision-making. Both policy and practice should be based on the best available evidence. However, despite available evidence, gaps exist between evidence, policy and real world practice.
In an effort to strengthen evidence-based policy in the Western Cape Province, the South African Cochrane Centre in collaboration with the Western Cape Provincial Department of Health (DoH), South Africa, launched STEPP. The project aims to bridge the gaps between research evidence, policy and practice.
STEPP reports compare specific policies formulated by the Provincial DoH with the best available evidence on benefits, harms, costs and feasibility of recommended interventions. The process begins by reviewing an existing policy guideline and defining targeted research questions for assessment. Next, a comprehensive search is conducted for synthesized evidence on benefits and harms of interventions, preferably based on Cochrane systematic reviews. Policy-makers, clinicians and consumers are consulted for local data on costs and feasibility. The end product is a critical summary evaluating the evidence in light of current policy. STEPP reports are distributed to relevant policy-makers, consumers and clinicians.
STEPP reports completed:
- What are the effects of various emergency contraceptive regimens?
- The effects of co-trimoxazole on morbidity and mortality in HIV positive individuals.
- What are the effects of micronutrients on morbidity and mortality in HIV positive individuals?
- Topical steroid therapy for treating atopic eczema (dermatitis)
- What is the effect of isoniazid prophylaxis in HIV-infected individuals?
- How do the effects of colloids compare to those of crystalloids in the management of fluid replacement in critically ill patients?