Background

The GATHER working group was convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2014, with the aim to define and promote good practice in reporting health estimates. The working group consists of experts on global health estimates from academia and WHO, journal editors, members of the EQUATOR network (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency of health Research), and members of existing guideline steering groups. We reviewed existing reporting guidelines for relevance to health estimates and concluded that available reporting guidelines would not ensure adequate reporting of global health estimates.

Based on the review of existing guidance and reporting guidelines and on input from working group members, we generated a comprehensive list of potential reporting items. We subsequently sought feedback from a broader community of researchers and users of the estimates via an online survey between January and February 2015. The responses were compiled, summarized, and presented at a two-day consensus meeting held in London, United Kingdom, in February 2015. A full report of the online survey, including the comprehensive list of potential reporting items considered, can be found here.

The primary objective of the working group consensus meeting was to agree on the list of items that should be reported whenever health estimates are published. This list was refined over the course of 2015 and published as part of the GATHER Statement in 2016. The GATHER meeting report is available here.

As experience with GATHER accumulates, methods and data evolve, and suggestions for improvements are made, GATHER will need to evolve as well. The Explanation and Elaboration document is a living document that can be updated and clarified as needed. We anticipate that once sufficient experience has accumulated, the GATHER Checklist and Statement will be revised as well.

We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which made GATHER possible.