Professor Erika Ota

Midwife and Professor of Global Health Nursing, St.Luke's International University

Professor Erika Ota began using Cochrane Library as an author from 2010. She was a midwife and postdoctoral fellow when she attended her very first Cochrane Library workshop held in Japan. To date, Professor Ota has contributed 26 published Cochrane systematic reviews and 14 Cochrane protocols, concentrating mainly on maternal and child health issues.

As Deputy Director of Cochrane Japan, Professor Ota has helped to establish Cochrane Japan in 2016. Today, Cochrane Japan conducts workshops annually, and sees a steadily increasing number of Cochrane authors from Japan. Cochrane Japan also helps neighboring countries, such as Indonesia, in conducting Cochrane Library workshops.

Learning how to write Cochrane reviews has helped the development of my career as a researcher.

Some of my reviews contributed to WHO guidelines such as "WHO recommendations for prevention and treatment of maternal peripartum infections", "WHO recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience", and "WHO recommendations on breastfeeding in maternity facilities".

Now, my aim is in teaching other researchers and students how to conduct systematic reviews, which would contribute to building the capacity of Cochrane authors from Japan. I believe my work in helping others master Cochrane Library, will be able to contribute to improving people’s access to accurate health information and in turn, improve their quality of life.

In Japan, the number of low birth weight babies increased from 5 to 10% in these 20 years, and my research aim is to find effective nutritional interventions for preventing low birth weight for pregnant women. Low birth weight is related to higher morbidity or mortality in the short term, but recent studies have found that it also increases the risk for noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life. Hence, we published an updated Cochrane review titled "Antenatal dietary education and supplementation to increase energy and protein intake" in 2015 which shows appropriate balanced protein intake increases birth weight and prevents the delivery of small gestational weight babies.

This medical evidence is very useful for Japanese pregnant women. From the research, we found that Japanese pregnant women actually eat less than the recommended amount of protein. Hence, now we are in preparation for knowledge translation and transfer to Japanese pregnant women to take the appropriate amount of protein during pregnancy!

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I WAS A MIDWIFE AND POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW WHEN I ATTENDED MY VERY FIRST COCHRANE LIBRARY WORKSHOP HELD IN JAPAN.