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Ugandan medical librarians win African health award

Ugandan medical librarians win African health award

21 October 2014 – Two medical librarians from Uganda, Dr Alison Kinengyere and Ms Glorias Asiimwe, respectively Chair and Secretary of UG-AHILA, (the local country chapter of the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa) yesterday received a prestigious award for their report on health information activities in their country. Granted by AHILA and Partnerships in Health Information (Phi), the prize of £500 was sponsored by CABI, publishers of world-renowned bibliographic database, Global Health. Vice President of Tanzania, Mohamed Gharib Bilal, presented the award to the winners at the 14th AHILA Congress, which is taking place 20-24 October 2014 in Dar es Salaam.

The prize is intended to strengthen and support an existing AHILA chapter or facilitate the process of forming a country chapter with links to its national library association. Entrants were asked to describe partnership activities and events relevant to health information in their country, and show how they would spend the prize money to strengthen future health information activities.

Reviewed by a committee of distinguished international information professionals, judges said the librarians’ report was, “compelling in demonstrating a clear desire to develop the AHILA chapter, both in terms of activities and extended membership. Their objectives for the use of funding were clear and realistic.”

Dr Alison Kinengyere of Albert Cook Medical Library, Makerere University and Ms Glorias Asiimwe of Busitema University were very excited to win the award. “When I heard the news”, said Alison, “I felt humbled and thrilled that Glorias and I had won the award. Our Chapter has challenges and this will encourage and inspire us in overcoming them.”

Alison Kinengyere has worked with Phi organizing training workshops on the role that health librarians can play in improving public access to health information. A health librarian’s skill set is important for sourcing reliable evidence-based health information, partnership building and collaboration across professions. Glorias Asiimwe was formerly Education Lead at the African Prisons Project and is now Medical Librarian at Busitema University School of Medicine (BUSM), which is the newest medical school in Uganda, having been part of Busitema University.

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Gharib Bilal, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, opened the AHILA Congress. He commented that the use of ICTs to enhance the management, access and sharing of health information and knowledge, particularly in Africa’s rural communities where information asymmetries are more pronounced, is a development priority; the skills and expertise of AHILA’s members could make a significant contribution. He urged that they develop realistic, focused and implementable strategies and recommendations.

Photo (C) AHILA: Dr Alison Kinengyere receiving the award sponsored by CABI from His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Gharib Bilal, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania

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