Reliable and timely health information saves lives. Health librarians are crucial to providing access and their effectiveness is enhanced by networks and partnerships. Demonstrable benefits are emerging through a tried and tested model for leadership and partnership working. Longstanding relationships between three pan African bodies Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA), the Information Training & Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA) and Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) have become more strategic through Phi promoting African leadership as a key strand of its strategy and through the partners formalising their partnership.
ITOCA, whose established role in capacity building is well respected in the profession, and AHILA whose professional development and advocacy work culminates in biennial congresses bringing together health information professionals to share and learn from one another, and Phi have strengthened their alliance and enhanced their impact through working more closely together under Memorandum of Understanding agreements signed in October 2011. A member of ITOCA staff now serves as Phi coordinator for Africa; and as AHILA coordinator, providing a much needed secretariat to support AHILA Executive. This alliance is paying dividends in enabling easy and speedy communication and collaborative working across all three partners, whose combined networks provide a unique source of knowledge and expertise. Two examples, both with roots in IFLA initiatives, demonstrate the need for such a model and the gaps the partnership works to address. In October 2012 an African led workshop ‘Public Access to Health Information (PAHI); training for Trainers’ sponsored by Phi and AHILA and supported by ITOCA, was held at the AHILA Conference in Cape Verde. In November 2012 a week- long workshop on resource management was held in Lusaka coordinated by Phi and delivered by ITOCA. On the final day, the President of AHILA played a key role, and an adaptation of the IFLA Building Strong Library Associations workshop was held at which the Zambian chapter of AHILA was revitalized.
(2013). Saving lives through health information; African leadership and partnership. HIFA Voices.
Available at: http://ecommons.aku.edu/libraries/21