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South-west boost for health in Africa

Health services in Kenya are benefiting from a partnership which helps tackle health issues such as child mortality and infectious diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS – not by donations of cash but by improving skills in identifying and accessing the latest evidence about what works best. The right information at the right time can make a real difference, even to the extent of saving lives.

The project, run by the Bristol-based Kenya Health Information Partnership (KenHIP), is supported by Phi, which also oversees similar partnerships with Uganda, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. Links are created between health information specialists and librarians in the UK and the partner country with programmes being developed around the particular needs of the latter.

Two hospital library managers and members of KenHIP, Jane Villa from the North Bristol NHS Trust and Paula Younger from Weston Area Health NHS Trust, have just returned from a week in Kenya where they held a workshop on evidence-based healthcare and visited an enterprising rural mission hospital at Kijabe.

T2010 Kenya workshop 1hey said: “In Kenya only 3 out of 10 people have access to health facilities within 4km of their home and in many places the situation is much worse. We hope this project will help to build a better system for sharing information which is designed around people’s needs and reflects what will work best in different parts of Kenya… An additional benefit is that we have developed a friendship with our professional colleagues in Kenya, which we hope will continue for many years to come.”

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