Systematic Review Centres

Since 2007, the Alliance has pioneered support for the establishment of systematic review centres in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where the need for such a resource is especially acute.

The establishment of the project saw the launch of four systematic review centres in Bangladesh, Chile, China and Uganda. The programme expanded in 2013 to include two new centres and currently supports centres in Chile, China, Lebanon, and South Africa.

The focus of these centres is to conduct reviews which address questions of how to improve the performance of health systems. To date, more than 20 publications and review protocols have been produced.

The Alliance has been working in collaboration with partners providing technical support for the centres. These include the Norwegian satellite of the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group (EPOC), the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre (EPPI-Centre), UCL Institute of Education, London, and the Effective Health Care Research Programme Consortium, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in England.

Current Alliance-Supported Systematic Review Centres


Centre for Systematic Reviews of Health Policy and Systems Research in LMICs in the Americas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile


China Center for Health Development Studies, Peking University


The Center for Systematic Reviews on Health Policy and Systems Research (SPARK), American University of Beirut

South Africa

South African Initiative for Systematic Reviews on Health Policies and Systems (SAI)

Achieving Impact

Spotlight on Lebanon

The Centre of Systematic Reviews for Health Policy and Systems Research (SPARK) in Lebanon is conducting a review titled “Mechanisms and models of coordination between organizations, agencies and bodies providing or financing health services in humanitarian crises” (see here). This review was developed in response to a need identified by policymakers and stakeholders through a priority-setting exercise.

The preliminary findings of this review, presented at a policy dialogue with the presence of the Director General of the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) in Lebanon has contributed to addressing dysfunction during the Syrian refugee crisis and to the recruitment of a refugee health coordinator at the MOPH.

Spotlight on China

Numerous reviews on payment methods for ambulatory care facilities and professions have been, and are being, carried out as part of the work supported by the Alliance HPSR in China. This work has directly informed current debates on provider payment reforms in the country, and recommendations from these reviews are providing the basis for a pilot project being evaluated in the Henan Province.