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Original Research

Health Libraries and Information Services in Tanzania: A Strategic Assessment

Authors:

Hussein Haruna ,

Department of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Health & Social Welfare, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
About Hussein
PhD Candidate
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Majaliwa Mtoroki,

Department of Quality Assurance, Ministry of Health & Social Welfare, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
About Majaliwa
MSc
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Dan D. Gerendasy,

National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD
About Dan
PhD
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Ellen G. Detlefsen,

School at University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
About Ellen
PhD
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Ellen G. Detlefsen

School at University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
About Ellen
PhD
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Abstract

An abstract of this project was presented as a poster at the 6th Annual CUGH Conference: Consortium of Universities for Global in 2015, Boston, MA. The abstract was published in Annals of Global Health 2015;81:151.

Background

The intention of the Government of Tanzania is to establish more health information resource canters in all health facilities. With this regard, health information science personnel are needed to provide adequate and accurate health information services. However, availability of these personnel remains to be a challenge because of their non-existence.

Objective

To identify the current status and local impact of health sciences libraries and user perception of these libraries, as a prerequisite to the development of a competence-based curriculum for health information science training in Tanzania.

Methods

A needs assessment was carried out using a convenience sample of local respondents, including librarians, trainers, academicians, students, health care providers, and patients and families, drawn from national, referral, regional, district hospitals, health training institutions, and universities from both government and nongovernment entities in Tanzania. A focus group approach was used to gather data from respondents.

Results

Results from this assessment revealed that health science libraries in Tanzania are faced with the challenges of insufficient infrastructure, old technology, limited facilities and furniture, inadequate and incompetent library staff, lack of health sciences librarians, outdated and insufficient resources, and low knowledge and use of information technologies by library clients. Most respondents would prefer to have both physical and electronic libraries, as well as librarians with specialized health information science skills, to cope with changing nature of the medical field.

Conclusions

The findings obtained from this assessment are strong enough to guide the development of a curriculum and training strategy and an operational plan and training packages for health information professionals. The development of a training curriculum for health information science professionals will mean better health information service delivery for Tanzania.

How to Cite: Haruna, H., Mtoroki, M., D. Gerendasy, D., G. Detlefsen, E. and G. Detlefsen, E., 2017. Health Libraries and Information Services in Tanzania: A Strategic Assessment. Annals of Global Health, 82(5), pp.912–921.e3. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.aogh.2016.10.003
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Published on 08 Mar 2017.
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