Links to Useful Organisations
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Links to Useful Organisations

The following organisations and associations are active in the field of health information in developing countries.

Library Associations

Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA)

This professional association has 46 country members and many partners and collaborators worldwide. AHILA aims to: improve the provision of up-to-date and relevant information to health workers in Africa; encourage the professional development of librarianship; promote the development of resource-sharing and exchange of experiences and information among African health information professionals; and promote the development, standardisation, and exchange of national databases of medical and health literature produced in Africa as an African Index Medicus.

The Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern African Library and Information Associations (SCECSAL)
SCECSAL is a regional grouping of library and information associations in Africa. They hold regular conferences, the 19th of which will be held in Botswana in September 2010. The 2010 theme will be ‘Enhancing democracy and good governance through effective information and knowledge services.’

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)

The leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers, CILIP forms a community of around 36,000 people engaged in library and information work.

CILIP includes:

CILIP’s Health Libraries Group (HLG)

HLG unites those working or interested in library and information services for medical, health, nursing and other allied health professions. It is one of the largest Special Interest Groups within CILIP, with over 1,500 members.

CILIP’s International Library and Information Group (ILIG)
ILIG exists to unite CILIP members in the UK and abroad who have an interest in international work.  It aims to foster good international relations within the profession; lessen professional isolation; encourage closer international understanding, and contribute to the development of library and information services overseas.

CILIP’s Career Development Group (CDG)
CDG’s mission is to support, represent and promote the development needs of new and existing library and information workers and students.

European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL)

Containing around 1,000 members from 30 European countries, EAHIL is an active professional association uniting and motivating librarians and information workers in medical and health science libraries in Europe. EAHIL encourages professional development, improves cooperation and enables exchanges of experience among its members.

International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)

The leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users.

IFLA’s Committee on Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE)
This initiative furthers free access to information and freedom of expression in all aspects, directly or indirectly, related to libraries and librarianship. IFLA/FAIFE publishes reports, participates in conferences and organises workshops; monitors the state of intellectual freedom within the library community world-wide; supports IFLA policy development and co-operation with other international human rights organisations; and responds to violations of free access to information and freedom of expression.

Medical Library Association (MLA)
MLA is a nonprofit, educational organisation with more than 4,000 health sciences information professional members and partners worldwide. MLA provides lifelong educational opportunities, supports a knowledgebase of health information research, and works with a global network of partners to promote the importance of quality information for improved health to the health care community and the public.

MLA has an International Cooperation Section, which provides opportunities for participation in international cooperation projects, promotes awareness of international issues, provides a mechanism for addressing and responding to the needs of international members, and fosters communication in the international library area.

Organisations and Networks

Afri Afya

African Network for Health Knowledge Management and Communication is a consortium of health non-governmental organisations that set up in 2000 to explore ways of harnessing information and communication technology (ICTs) for community health and development in rural and marginalized communities.


AMREF is an international African organisation headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. AMREF’s mission is to ensure that every African can enjoy the right to good health by helping to create vibrant networks of informed communities that work with empowered health care providers in strong health systems. AMREF implements projects to learn through country programmes in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Southern Sudan and South Africa, and shares this evidence-based knowledge with others to advocate for changes in health policy and practice. Training and consulting support are provided to an additional 30 African countries.

Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA)
ITOCA is a capacity building organisation aimed at enhancing ICT skills for African librarians, information specialists, scientists, researchers, and students in Sub-Sahara Africa. In 2009 it was designated as a WHO Collaboration Centre, providing training in access and use of electronic scientific and medical information such as  HINARI Access to Research in Health programme (a WHO programme that enables developing countries to access one of the world's largest collections of biomedical and health literature). ITOCA also focuses on providing the research and academic communities with access to up-to-date, affordable, published, scientific literature and information.

Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
ACU is the oldest and one of the largest inter-university networks in the world. Commonwealth university members are able, through the ACU, to network easily, extensively and fruitfully, sharing problems, solutions and good practice across a variety of higher education environments. The ACU aims to provide its members with enhanced global visibility; a wide range of contacts and networking opportunities; scholarships and staff mobility programmes; cost-beneficial services; information, support and advocacy. If interested in joining, please refer to their criteria for membership under the 'to join us' section of the ACU website.

ACU's Libraries and Information Network 

The ACU’s Libraries and Information Network is open to librarians in all ACU member universities, and is completely free to join. They currently have around 400 members across 300 institutions Commonwealth-wide. Members receive a free copy of LINK, the Network’s regular magazine, and benefit from opportunities to share professional expertise, knowledge and best practice with colleagues across the membership. For further information on benefits see:


Managed by INASP, this initiative focuses on supporting academics in developing countries to publish their work, thereby increasing the volume of developing country research accessible via scholarly journals and other publications. It provides an online mentoring service to connect senior and junior researchers, and in so doing to help researchers in developing countries to publish and communicate their work.

Book Aid International
Book Aid International increases access to books to support literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa as well as Palestine and Sri Lanka. They send over half a million books to sub-Saharan Africa each year.

Computer Aid
Computer Aid is a UK registered charity that aims to reduce poverty through practical ICT solutions. They professionally refurbish donated computers and laptops from UK organisations and individuals and then provide them for reuse in education, health and not-for-profit organisations in developing countries. To find out more about donating or applying for computers, see their website below:

Electronic Information for Libraries (eFIL)
Established in 1999, eIFL works to increase access to electronic information in transitional and developing countries. Through their eIFL access scheme they negotiate affordable prices for member countries with publishers and aggregators. Resources are available to educational and research institutions in developing and transition countries.

Global Healthcare Information Network (GHI-Net)
GHI-Net is a non-profit organisation that provides inclusive support through communication (promoting international, regional and national cooperation), understanding (building a picture of information needs and how to meet them) and effective action (seeking and advocating cost-effective solutions). GHI-net serves as a facilitator to help others work more effectively. It does not itself provide healthcare information.

Health Information For All by 2015 (HIFA2015)

HIFA2015 is a major global campaign, launched in Kenya in 2006, and facilitated by GHI-net. The goal of the campaign is: By 2015, every person worldwide will have access to an informed healthcare provider. Lack of access to essential healthcare information will no longer be a significant constraint in the delivery of care in developing countries. People will no longer be dying for lack of knowledge. HIFA2015 members communicate via two global email discussion forums, HIFA2015 and CHILD2015.


International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP)
INASP works in Africa, Asia and Latin America, directly with 22 partners and more indirectly with a further 90 network countries. Contacts, activities and resources are available on the website, listed by country. INASP takes a multi-dimensional approach, working with all the key actors in the research communication cycle - national and international publishers, journal editors, researchers, librarians and ICT professionals. There are four programmes of activity: information delivery, publishing support, library and ICT development, and bandwidth and optimisation. INASP also runs a small grants scheme for partner countries, supporting peer exchange, study visits and online communities.

Map of Medicine

Map of Medicine is a visual representation of evidence-based, practice-informed pathways. A key tool for clinically-led service improvement programmes, the Map has been shown to improve patient outcomes and lower healthcare delivery costs. It is helping the NHS respond to the challenge of delivering high quality care in the current environment, as well as being a valuable tool for healthcare professionals, as it supports the NHS's commitment to encourage implementation of their guidance and encourage evidence based practice in healthcare.

Teaching Aids at Low Cost (TALC)

TALC’s main objective is to promote the health of children and advance medical knowledge and teaching worldwide by providing and developing educational material. TALC offers many free and low-cost essential texts in areas including tropical medicine, HIV/AIDS, nursing, surgery and child health. TALC also distributes large quantities of high quality and relevant electronic health information free to healthcare workers in developing countries through its e-TALC CD-ROM service.

The Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET)
THET is an international health charity committed to improving health services in developing countries by strengthening long-term capacity. THET works by strengthening Health Links – mutually beneficial long-term partnerships between health institutions in the UK and their counterparts in developing countries. THET also promotes and shares good practice among Links, advocates for policies to support Links, and scales up projects with Link partners in several countries.

The UK One World Linking Association (UKOWLA)
UKOWLA is committed to supporting mutually beneficial partnership links between communities in the UK and in other parts of the world, particularly Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. It is a membership organisation with over 300 community groups around the UK. It provides advice to those who are either thinking of linking or have established partnerships, organise meetings, workshops and conferences on different aspects of linking, and provides many resources via the website.

World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support and monitoring and assessing health trends.

WHO includes:

African Index Medicus (AIM)

An international index to African health literature and information sources produced by WHO and ATILA to give access to information published in or related to Africa and to encourage local publishing.

Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI)
Set up by WHO together with major publishers, HINARI enables many developing countries to gain access to one of the world's largest collections of biomedical and health literature. Over 6,200 journal titles are now available to health institutions in 108 countries.

Global Health Library Initiative (GHL)

GHL will provide first step access to reliable health information in paper form, electronic form, and any other media to those who need it. GHL will offer an opportunity to provide a virtual platform that assembles multiple resources and points to content in all available formats that will be targeted according to the needs of specific user groups.


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