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Virtual Health Sciences Library of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean

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					Virtual Health Sciences Library of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region:
Bridging the Knowledge Gap

What makes the gap
• Healthcare is an information–intensive sector that requires continuous flow of scientific and technical information for education, planning, monitoring and evaluation; • Health information is produced in abundance with very limited means to find the right information; • Health information is not available/accessible to majority of health professionals and citizens of developing countries.

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• High rate of information and information technology illiteracy; • Week information and communication infrastructure.

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The Mandate
• In 1978, the EMR RC Resolution on Regional Medical library recommended that: ―the Regional Director takes further steps for the consolidation of the resources and services of the WHO Regional Medical Library and the development of a viable Network for biomedical information‖
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• Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen
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The East Mediterranean Region
Lebanon

Tunisia
Morocco Libya

Palestine

Syria Iraq Jordan Iran Afghanistan

Egypt

Kuwait Pakistan United Arab Emirates Qatar Saudi Arabia Oman

Sudan

Yemen Djibouti Somalia

Bahrain

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The Approach
• National planning of national health information systems; • Development of resources-sharing networks for health sciences libraries and information centres on a national and regional basis; • Promoting of training of health sciences library personnel;
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• Improvement of the bibliographic control of the health literature both at the Regional and the national levels; • Provision of library and information services in support of country health programmes; and, • Development and support of networking activities and eventual building of the EMR Virtual Health Science Library; • Development of information infrastructure at healthcare and medical education institution.
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The Solution

Development and Maintenance of Bilingual Web Site
• The World Wide Web represents the fastest growing medium for dissemination of health information; • Arabic and English with potential to add more local languages; • It is used to provide health information for healthcare professionals, decision makers, and citizens; • It includes health topics and country profiles in addition to Regional Office information services and networks.
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Development of the Virtual Health Sciences Library
• Developing information and telecommunication infrastructure; • Building of electronic collections in health sciences libraries; • Connecting libraries to the Internet; • Pooling of electronic resources.

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World resources Regional Libraries and Information Centres Libraries in Health Care Institutions at the National Level

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EMR Index Medicus: a tool for enhancing access to locally produced health literature
• Over 400 medical journals are published in the Region; • A few journals are indexed in international indexing and abstracting services such as MEDLINE; • A tool for south-north information flow; • Includes over 80,000 records from 18 countries.
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Index Medicus for the Eastern Mediterranean
• • • • Started in 1987 to index 1984 articles; Continued as retrospective until 1998; Since 1999 it became current; The only in the world to include this information; • Journals increased from 70 journals to 320 now;

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Publishing and Distribution Policy of the IMEMR
• Printed form of the Bulletin on a quarterly basis (500 copies); • The Bulletin is published on the RO Intranet; • Access through EMRO Web site on the Internet; • CD-ROM update on six monthly basis; • Special bibliographies upon request; • Distributed free in all cases.
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EMRO Networks and Communities of Practice
• Connecting professionals through Listservs and collaborative workspace; • Discussion groups; • Networks and associations.

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Union Catalogue of Medical Journals
• A central database of journals holdings of 40 medical libraries in the Region; • A memorandum of Understanding between institutions and the Regional Office; • A collection of 3500 journals titles with full details on each titles holding and libraries; • A document delivery service at no cost on participating libraries.
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E-Health
• is the use, in the health sector, of digital data—transmitted, stored and retrieved electronically—for clinical, educational and administrative purposes, both at the local site and at a distance.

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EMRO e-Health Programme
• Consultation and assessment of needs; • Provision of training; • Logistics support for equipment and software; • Professional meetings and conferences; • Policy setting national planning.
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Education and Training
• National training courses; • Conferences, professional meetings and Seminars; • Fellowships; • Internships.

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Provision of health literature
• Free distribution of WHO and EMRO publications; • Provision of access to health information resources on the Internet; • Provision of electronic publications and databases.
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Development of Systems and tools
• Development of the \unified medical Dictionary; • Arabicization of the International Classification of Diseases; • Arabicization of the National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings;
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• Development of the EMR Medical Library Handbook in Arabic and English; • Arabicization of the library management software.

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Mobile Health Libraries
• Reaching out to remote areas; • Health information at the district level.

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Results and Statistics
• A budget allocation of over US$ 2,000,000 for Knowledge Management; • A network of over 250 libraries in the Region; • Training courses for health information workers in 10 countries of the Region; • Assessment of needs and evaluation for most of the countries of the Region;
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• Substantial increase in number of participants in Listservs and virtual communities; • Twelve Regional Conferences over the last four years:
– Four conference on Virtual Library Network; – Four conferences on e-health and telemedicine; – Two conferences on medical publishing and translation; – Over 40 national training courses.
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Future steps
• Forming of consortia for medical journals subscriptions; • Surveys on needs assessment and ereadiness in healthcare institutions; • Approach donors for support to health information access projects; • Expand the IMEMR to cover full text of regional journals.
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