Mayowa Olowabi - Chair of GACD COUNCIL Working Group
Mayowa Olowabi

The GACD has a number of working groups that unite our 900 + researchers around the globe. One such group identified a problem in working in low income resources. The COUNCIL group began with the vision to develop a set of LMIC-specific guidelines for the treatment of hypertension, but have expanded their scope to include diabetes, obesity and stroke. Council’s work has recently been accepted for publication by www.diabetescare.org. Here, group chair Mayowa Olowabi explains how the GACD approach helped the proceess.

1. What was the inspiration for the guidelines article?
The increasing burden of cardiovascular diseases in low and middle income countries (LMICs) and the widening disparity in health outcomes compared to high income countries inspired this article. Unlike high income countries, the unavailability of resources, technical expertise, policy, and health financing makes the implementation of most evidence based recommendations highly unlikely. We thought another way to combat the rising CVD burden in the low-resource settings of LMICs, by placing proof in practice, is direly needed.

2. Why was there a need for these guidelines?
The urgent need to reduce CVD burden requires all hands on deck. Therefore, pragmatic guidelines, which are a form of policy, with an implementation pipeline to stimulate, assimilate, process, and disseminate evidence-based interventions that work in LMICs are needed. The proposed involvement of stakeholders, patients, and other partners is an additional strength.

3. How did the GACD network help you achieve this?
Members of the GACD were key in identification and selection of guidelines, data extraction and guideline interpretation for non-English guidelines. All members involved also had immense input in writing of the manuscript.

4. Talk us through the process of collective writing?
The process of the collective writing simply went through the following steps
a. A team was constituted to carry out a search strategy.
b. Members of the GACD network were also requested to send in guidelines of their countries and possibly neighbouring countries.
c. The pro forma for data extraction was shared with the GACD network for extraction of information necessary from the guidelines with at least 2 persons extracting from one guideline.
d. Data extracted was synthesized by the lead authors and the draft was shared with the GACD network
e. Edits and comments were collated and integrated from members and the articles were re-circulated. This process was repeated several times until before and during the review process.

5. Any tips for future GACD working groups wanting to publish similar articles.
• Have a strong and compelling idea
• Build a team
• Identify key roles and keen drivers.
• Develop an action plan and a timeline

6. What were your personal reflections after publication? How did you feel?
• We were very grateful that we succeeded. We are planning the next steps, including a commentary and possibly in future a GACD Guideline on control of Diabetes mellitus in LMICs.

Read the article here

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