Working method

Our research is participatory, designed and conducted in cooperation with on-site scientists, health professionals, students and patients. Such cooperation helps making informed choices about the appropriate care.

Our approach echoes the World Health Organisation‘s  current General Programme, in particular this recommendation: improving equitable access to safe, quality and effective traditional medicines can help achieve universal health coverage, address health emergencies and build sustainable and culturally sensitive primary health care.

The method commonly used by Antenna at the start of a project is the “retrospective treatment-outcome” study, inspired by the concept of “reverse pharmacology” : a survey of all therapeutic practices in the population, correlated with reported outcomes.

The basic idea is that daily experience of populations accumulates after years and generations an immense quantity of data which are “observed outcomes after actions”. A set of “big data” of possible cause-and-effect relationships. Experience is misleading when it comes to inferences about causal links. For example, when we recover from an illness we think that it is due to the treatment, whereas it might well be a case of spontaneous healing. With a close look at a large number of cases, we may observe that, among several treatments used for disease X, A is followed by good progress in 80% of cases and B in 40%. This shows that A could be more effective, but this remains to be proven through a clinical trial with quality controls.

The results of such research provide health professionals and communities with new tools to make informed choices about the use of available resources – for a positive and significant impact on health.

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