Meet the Editor: Eleanor Ochodo

In this instalment of the CIDG 'Meet the Editor' series, we talk with Dr Eleanor Ochodo, who became a CIDG Editor in January 2020.  Dr Ochodo is a Senior Research Scientist and Lecturer at the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Her research revolves around evidence-based health care with a focus on diagnostic tests and markers. Dr Ochodo focuses specifically on the accuracy of diagnostic tests and markers, their impact on patients and how their results can be translated to policy and practice.

Could you describe where you currently work and what you do there?

I have a joint affiliation with Stellenbosch University (Centre for Evidence-based Health Care) as a senior researcher and Kenya Medical Research Centre (Centre for Global Health Research) as a visiting scientist. In 2019, I was awarded the UK MRC/DFID African Research Leader award. Part of this grant entails building a science programme in evidence synthesis and research translation in Kenya linked to the Stellenbosch programme and in collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM).

What is a typical day for you?

Workwise, strategic meetings, conference calls, scientific and grant writing, and oh yes… as I set up this new programme of science, budgets and project management. 

What prompted you to work in this area?

I have been gravitating towards a research career since my days in medical school in Nairobi. I was part of the then Medical Students Research Foundation in the University of Nairobi. After my internship I briefly worked at the Kenya Medical Research Institute before departing to the Netherlands for my MSc and PhD. I was introduced to the world of evidence synthesis during my MSc when I was a co-reviewer for a systematic review on rapid diagnostic tests for malaria. 

What are the major challenges that still remain in your field?

Systematic approaches of adapting guidelines to national settings in Africa considering the variation in Africa. Effective adaptation accounting for contextual issues will guide better implementation of policy and guidelines. 

How did you first hear about Cochrane?

During my PhD in the Netherlands. Some of my work entailed collaboration with core members of Cochrane Netherlands. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of being involved with Cochrane?

Great scientific support from the Cochrane community and Cochrane’s focus on not only producing robust reviews but reviews informing policy and practice. 

Who (or what) has been the biggest influence on your career to date?

Difficult to point to one. I have been very lucky to be supported by different mentors at different points of my career journey.

Please list three words you would associate with Cochrane.

Thoroughness, Quality, Impact

What do you do in your spare time?

Our two young energetic daughters keep me very busy in my spare time. It’s that season!! 

The CIDG editorial base is located at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in Liverpool, UK. The CIDG is led by Professor Paul Garner (Co-ordinating Editor) and Deirdre Walshe (Managing Editor). Over 600 authors from some 52 countries contribute to the preparation of the Cochrane Reviews. They are supported by an international team of Editors, each with topic or methodological expertise. 

The CIDG’s main areas of work are on determination of the effects of interventions on the prevention or treatment infectious diseases of relevance to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and neglected tropical diseases. The aims of the CIDG are to impact on policy and research in tropical diseases through the production of high quality and relevant systematic reviews, and to lead developments in review quality improvement and effective dissemination of findings.