Developing prehospital clinical practice guidelines for resource limited settings: why re-invent the wheel?

Journal Article


Journal Title

BMC Res Notes

Journal ISSN
Volume Title

BioMed Central


University of Cape Town

Objectives: Methods on developing new (de novo) clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) have received substantial attention. However, the volume of literature is not matched by research into alternative methods of CPG development using existing CPG documents—a specific issue for guideline development groups in low- and middle-income countries. We report on how we developed a context specific prehospital CPG using an alternative guideline development method. Difficulties experienced and lessons learnt in applying existing global guidelines’ recommendations to a national context are highlighted. Results: The project produced the first emergency care CPG for prehospital providers in Africa. It included > 270 CPGs and produced over 1000 recommendations for prehospital emergency care. We encountered various difficulties, including (1) applicability issues: few pre-hospital CPGs applicable to Africa, (2) evidence synthesis: heterogeneous levels of evidence classifications and (3) guideline quality. Learning points included (1) focusing on key CPGs and evidence mapping, (2) searching other resources for CPGs, (3) broad representation on CPG advisory boards and (4) transparency and knowledge translation. Re-inventing the wheel to produce CPGs is not always feasible. We hope this paper will encourage further projects to use existing CPGs in developing guidance to improve patient care in resource-limited settings.