From cow dung spread on the umbilical cords of African newborns, to Vegemite and water being used to feed babies in the Australian outback, a lack of knowledge about best healthcare practice has the potential to do more harm than good.
At the University of Adelaide, the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) is a world-leading team of researchers whose work ensures that evidence-based knowledge reaches the people who need it most, improving the outcomes for thousands of people right across the globe.
This Friday (12 October), the Patron of the Joanna Briggs Foundation, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove, will host a reception at Admiralty House, Sydney, in recognition of the work of the Joanna Briggs Institute in improving health for disadvantaged communities.
JBI is an international not-for-profit health research institute of the University of Adelaide that collaborates with more than 70 partnering organisations across the world. JBI fosters long-term, sustainable change in health practices by training healthcare professionals to deliver evidence-based healthcare, and providing the best available evidence to inform clinical decision making.
The Governor-General has been patron of the Joanna Briggs Foundation for four years. The reception hosted by Their Excellencies will acknowledge how this work is changing lives and fulfilling a critical role, assisting health professionals from around the world to become effective leaders and agents of change.
“Supporting healthcare professionals from disadvantaged communities to become leaders in evidence-based practice is crucial for achieving sustainable change on an international level,” says JBI Executive Director, the University of Adelaide’s Professor Zoe Jordan.
“For over 20 years, we have heard stories from health professionals about their work with mothers and babies. In Uganda, cow dung was being used on the umbilical cords of newborns. In remote Australia, mothers were using Vegemite and water in bottles to feed their babies.
“Stories like these are numerous, and while they reflect issues with infrastructure and funding, most were simply about lack of access to good-quality evidence and training.
“Everyone should have access to the best available knowledge to make decisions about the care they give and receive,” says Professor Jordan.
JBI’s innovative Evidence-based Clinical Fellowship Program bridges the gap between research and practice by empowering clinicians to identify critical issues and providing them with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to look for evidence-based solutions.
Former JBI Clinical Fellow and registered nurse from Papua New Guinea, Sylvia John, says: “For many years I noticed that common diseases were under-diagnosed and mishandled. I wanted to make some changes in asthma management but lacked the knowledge to do so.
“Implementing evidence-based practice through the JBI Evidence-based Clinical Fellowship Program has led to great improvements in patients’ quality of life, and more importantly, has saved lives,” says Ms John, who will be attending the Governor-General’s reception this Friday.