When the World Health Organisation develops guidelines on the use of health care interventions, it turns to the Cochrane Library. This is a collection of databases containing high quality systemic reviews and other evidence to inform decisions about health care.

The problem is that access to these important databases costs money. In South Africa, universities and the South African Medical Research Council could access the Cochrane Library through institutional subscriptions with the library’s publishers.

But most of the country’s health care workers aren’t affiliated to universities. So the library has been inaccessible where it’s most needed – in clinical settings. Technical teams within the government and those responsible for creating policies were also left out……more