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AFRO-NETS> Electronic Media for District Health Managers (6)

Electronic Media for District Health Managers (6)
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Dear Afro-netters,

It is interesting to read about the above subject in different countries.=
 I
have put the DSE Centre for Health message on the Medical School Library
notice board and I will forward a copy to the Ministry of Health. In
addition to the advantages of electronic media highlighted by Dr Bukachi
and others, Librarians of Medical Schools, who have various types of
information, would find it very easy to disseminate this information
electronically to the districts. Doctors and other health workers who hav=
e
been travelling long distances from districts to Medical Schools when
writing papers, doing research, etc. would now be sending their requests =
by
e-mail and we, at the medical libraries, would respond by e-mail; what a
difference this would make in our information provision service.

A lot of information exists in electronic form at Medical School Librarie=
s.
This includes the National health literature databases that feed the
African Index Medicus (AIM). Although AIM is printed, some National
databases, like the Ugandan one, have never been printed.  So, this will =
be
an important channel of disseminating information contained therein.=20

Several other databases like the index to newspapers, index to theses and
index to periodicals would also be accessed electronically at district le=
vels.

I would like to go a little beyond Dr Sharif=92s statement "Print media i=
s
expensive and  very restrictive".  I think in health information
dissemination, we should aim at using various channels/media to be able t=
o
reach farther than the district.=20

When electronic media facilitates dissemination of information to distric=
t
level, we should urge the districts to print off, at least, some of this
information and disseminate it as widely as possible within the districts
so that NGOs, Community Based Organisations (CBOs) etc., focussing on
health at village, parish, sub-county and county levels can access the
information in print format.=20

These NGOs, CBOs, etc., may not have the IT to access information
electronically.  The districts should do some kind of selective
dissemination of information such that, if there is a cholera outbreak in
sub-county x, information on cholera is printed off and sent to the
affected area(s).

Since the advantages of electronic media are many, I think the challenge =
is
how can we overcome or at least reduce the obstacles listed by Dr Bukachi
(Kenya) and Joost Hoppenbrouwer (Zambia)?

Training is one of the remedies; this will reduce "Lack of skilled and
experienced people/low computer literacy".  The DSE Training programme is=
,
therefore, timely.

GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL.

Maria G.N. Musoke
Deputy University Librarian
Albert Cook Library
Makerere University Medical School
P.O.Box 7072, Kampala / Uganda
East Africa
Fax: +256-41-530024
E-mail: Mmusoke@uga.healthnet.org
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