Gathoni N. Enhancing access to health information in Africa: a librarian's perspective. J Health Commun. 2012;17 Suppl 2:18-22. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2012.666628.
Abstract / Summary:
In recent years, tremendous progress has been made toward providing health information in Africa, in part because of technological advancements. Nevertheless, ensuring that information is accessible, comprehensible, and usable remains problematic, and there remain needs in many settings to address issues such as computer skills, literacy, and the infrastructure to access information. To determine how librarians might play a more strategic role in meeting information needs of health professionals in Africa, the author reviewed key components of information systems pertinent to knowledge management for the health sector, including access to global online resources, capacity to use computer technology for information retrieval, information literacy, and the potential for professional networks to play a role in improving access to and use of information. The author concluded that, in regions that lack adequate information systems, librarians could apply their knowledge and skills to facilitate access and use by information seekers. Ensuring access to and use of health information can also be achieved by engaging organizations and associations working to enhance access to health information, such as the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa. These groups can provide assistance through training, dissemination, information repackaging, and other approaches known to improve information literacy.
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Ensuring that information is accessible, comprehensible, and usable remains problematic, and there remain needs in many settings to address issues such as computer skills, literacy, and the infrastructure to access information.
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