Enhancing access to current literature by health workers in rural Uganda and community health problem solving

MUSOKE, Maria G. N. (2014) Enhancing access to current literature by health workers in rural Uganda and community health problem solving. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 88 - Health and Biosciences Libraries with Information Literacy. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/868
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

Enhancing access to current literature by health workers in rural Uganda and community health problem solving

An outreach activity, which originally targeted health professionals and student nurses in rural Uganda, was extended to the community with a focus on addressing the most prevalent diseases/health problems reported by the Health Management Information System (HMIS) of the Uganda Ministry of Health. The activity was conducted in nine districts in three years (2010-2012/13) by a team of two medical doctors, one nurse and three health information professionals including an IT person. The team implemented a project that was supported by the Elsevier Foundation as part of its competitive ‘Innovative Libraries in developing countries’ grant. For each district, a pre-visit was made before the main visit. The pre-visit enabled the team to meet the district health authorities, the administration of the host health unit, plan for the main visit and sort out the various issues, such as venue requirements (including mobile internet service providers). The outreach included a hands-on literature search session by participants, accessing the Internet using a mobile modem, R4L registration and a question-answer session facilitated by the medical team, which was so popular. Outreach sessions concluded by filling an evaluation form by all participants. Members of the community who were not able to read English were assisted by the facilitators to translate the questions. The evaluation comments assisted the team in improving the subsequent sessions. One of the repeated comments was the request to the team to conduct such sessions to benefit more people. Consequently, at the end of each session, the team requested the participants from both the Community and health workers to conduct similar sessions to benefit those who did not attend. Training materials used and both hard and soft copies of the presentations were left with the Head of the host health unit to use in future training sessions. In addition, the training was summarised in a periodical Digest that was distributed to over 1,500 health units in Uganda. The Digest also included abstracts from literature searches of international databases on the topical diseases/health problem. Results of the final project evaluation are summarised and the sustainability of the project outlined. This article, therefore, reports the successful implementation of the project, which other low income countries can learn from.

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