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Despite the many thousands of research studies published every year, evidence for making clinical decisions is often lacking. The main problem is that the evidence available is generated in conditions very different from those that prevail in routine clinical practice and with patients who are different. This is particularly a problem for low and middle income countries as most evidence is generated in high income countries. A group of clinicians, researchers, and policy makers met at Bellagio in Italy to consider how more relevant evidence might be generated. One answer is to conduct more pragmatic trials-those undertaken in routine clinical practice. The group thought that this might best be achieved by developing "learning health systems" in low and middle income countries. Learning health systems develop in communities that include clinicians, patients, researchers, improvement specialists, information technology specialists, managers, and policy makers and have a governance system that gives a voice to all those in the community. The systems focus on improving outcomes for patients, use a common dataset, and promote quality improvement and pragmatic research. Plans have been developed to create at least two learning systems in Africa.

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BOLDER Research Group