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AFRO-NETS> New: INASP Health Links
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> New: INASP Health Links
- From: "Dr N.M. Pakenham-Walsh" <INASP_Health@CompuServe.COM>
- Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002 16:41:28 -0500 (EST)
New: INASP Health Links
'INASP Health Links' is a new Gateway to selected Web sites of spe-
cial interest to health professionals, medical library communities,
publishers, and NGOs in developing and transitional countries. Please
have a look and let us know what you think of the site and, espe-
cially, how we might improve it.
INASP Health Links consists of three sections:
1. GENERAL RESOURCES
(search engines, gateways - global and regional, bibliographic data-
bases, abstracts, clinical trials databases, research networks, dic-
tionaries, glossaries, disease classifications, evidence-based medi-
cine, full-text E-books, image collections, journals, newsletters,
medical education resources, news, e-mail lists, and WHO sites).
2. SUBJECT INDEX
(e.g. Anaesthesiology, Basic Sciences, Dermatology, HIV/AIDS etc.)
3. LIBRARY AND PUBLISHING SUPPORT, AND USE OF ICTs
(Information for Development, Internet Skills, Medical Informatics/
Telehealth, Publishing Tools)
Each section consists of several pages of hyperlinks, arranged alpha-
betically, and each hyperlink carries a brief description of the site
FOCUS ON DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
It is estimated that there are at least 30,000 health-related sites
on the Internet - but the vast majority are targeted at users in
North America and Europe. INASP Health Links contains links to 448
selected sites, of which 160 are specifically focused on health in-
formation in developing countries. New links will be added on a regu-
lar basis. Sites with a specific focus on users in developing coun-
tries are clearly marked with a symbol.
Although INASP Health Links does not claim to be comprehensive, our
impression is that the many and varied needs of developing-country
health professionals (from specialist researchers to village health
workers) and health information providers (librarians, publishers and
others) are, overall, poorly addressed by existing Web resources.
There are some excellent individual resources, but they are few and
far between and there are large gaps in coverage. We hope that INASP
Health Links will help others to identify these gaps and encourage
the development of new resources to address unmet needs.
A TEMPLATE FOR CUSTOMIZATION BY OTHERS
INASP Health Links is offered freely for use as a template by others
(e.g. medical school libraries, ministries of health, publishers, li-
braries, NGOs) to develop customized gateways on their own websites.
This approach should reduce the risk of duplication of effort while
maximizing the usefulness of the gateway for specific target groups.
INASP Health Links is seen to be a *short-term* contribution to help
address the increasing demand in developing and transitional coun-
tries for easy access to relevant, reliable health information on the
Internet. INASP Health Links has been produced with minimal resources
and is not intended to be definitive nor comprehensive. Moreover, us-
ers should note that there has been *no formal quality assessment* of
content. It is hoped the site will encourage the collaborative devel-
opment of more comprehensive sites by others.
In the long term, health professionals in developing and transitional
countries require an international collaborative effort to deliver
comprehensive and quality-controlled gateway services, in consulta-
tion with end-users. Such vital initiatives are currently being
planned by a range of international organizations, including the WHO-
led Health InterNetwork and Interactive Health Network. Ideally,
every site in such a gateway should be evaluated for quality and
relevance of content, as occurs with gateway services such as the Or-
ganizing Medical Networked Information (OMNI), which focuses on the
information needs of UK health professionals.
HEALTH INFORMATION FORUM, London, 21 May 2002
INASP encourages international cooperation among existing and planned
initiatives, so that long-term solutions can be identified, imple-
mented, evaluated, and improved. To this end, INASP is organizing a
Health Information Forum meeting at the British Medical Association,
London on 21 May 2002. The theme of the meeting is: 'INTERNET PORTALS
AND GATEWAYS TO PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR FRONTLINE HEALTHCARE
WORKERS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES'. Admission is free thanks to BMJ
sponsorship but we regret that there is no funding available for
travel expenses etc. For further details, or to reserve your place,
please contact Neil Pakenham-Walsh at <firstname.lastname@example.org> .
Health Information Forum meetings are now formally recognized by the
Royal Colleges for accreditation for continued professional develop-
ment (credits are awarded on a meeting-by-meeting basis).
INASP Health Links is adapted for international use from the original
gateway provided by the University of Zambia School of Medicine Li-
brary (UNZA). The UNZA gateway was developed by UNZA staff in con-
junction with Lenny Rhine, Librarian at the University of Florida
Health Science Center Libraries.
INASP Health Links is compiled by Lenny Rhine and Neil Pakenham-
Walsh. INASP Health Links acknowledges the support and contributions
of Exchange, INASP, University of Florida Health Science Center Li-
braries, and University of Zambia School of Medicine Library. INASP-
Health activities are also supported by the British Medical Journal,
CDSI (International Council for Science), and the World Health Or-
Print copies of INASP Health Links are available on request for 45 US
dollars (25 pounds sterling) [including postage and packing], and
free of charge to libraries in developing countries.
Dr Neil Pakenham-Walsh
Programme Manager, INASP-Health
International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications
27 Park End Street, Oxford OX1 1HU, UK
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