Consumer health information literacy promotion program in public and community libraries in Africa : experience from Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe
Ajuwon, Grace A.
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The aim of this project was to enhance the capacity of public and community librarians in four African countries (Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe) in meeting the consumer health information (CHI) needs of their patrons. A total of 65 librarians from 34 public and community libraries were trained on how to access and use consumer health information resources by health sciences librarians in the selected countries. A needs assessment preceded the training that focused on health literacy, health information literacy, sources of health information, online information searching tools and search techniques, and how to search CHI resources, including Kidshealth.org, Womenshealth.gov, MedlinePlus, and CancerNet, among others. Each team of participating libraries received a seed grant to design and implement a consumer health activity. The trained public and community librarians in both Nigeria and Uganda conducted training on use of CHI resources to different categories of patrons. In Nigeria, high school students were trained on how to use their mobile phone to access CHI resources. Adolescents and other categories of library patrons were trained on information and communication technology (ICT) skills and accessing CHI resources in Uganda. In Kenya, the public librarian created a Consumer Health Information Corner and purchased CHI books for patrons to consult, while in Zimbabwe, the public library partnered with other non-governmental organizations to provide consumer health information materials to the library for patron use. It is possible for academic health sciences librarians to partner with public and community librarians in Africa to carry out a successful CHI project.