Opportunities and Challenges in Providing Global Health Information in Liberia


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After the war in Liberia, all of the doctors fled the country. UMass Medical School's Library Director Elaine Martin traveled to Liberia with the help of James Comes and Andrew Creamer to-build a library for the nation's medical school. Through photos, graphs, and text, they share their story about how they were able to take big steps toward re-building the nation's health care system.

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Opportunities and Challenges in Providing Global Health Information in Liberia

  1. 1. Opportunities andOpportunities andChallenges in ProvidingChallenges in ProvidingGlobal HealthGlobal HealthInformation in LiberiaInformation in LiberiaElaine MartinAndrew CreamerJames ComesUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
  2. 2. OutlineOutline• History-How University of Massachusetts MedicalSchool started working in Liberia• HEARTT• Collaboration with other libraries in the U.S.• Progress to date• Challenges
  3. 3. Four VisitsFour Visits• March 2011—Needs assessment; develop a plan• August 2011—Processing materials; setting policiesin preparation for the opening of the school year• February 2012—Begin staff training; continueprocessing; introduce computers• August 2012– Continue staff training and setting upan automated system and printer and copier
  4. 4. March 31 Meeting:Identify actionitems to resolveissues presentedIdentify medicallibrary softwareneeds; obtainHINARI passwordAssess power,internet, computingcapabilities &upgrades neededObtain draftoperations manual& future status ofItalian consultantDevelop additional contentneeded for operations manualGather and simplify librarystaff job descriptions &employee handbook that canbe customized for LiberiaDesign andimplementstaff trainingneededScheduleanddeliverTrainingmodulesObtain basic suppliesand containers fortransport, storage useConduct site visit when schoolis in session to observe libraryuse & servicesOnce power, internet,computer availability isadequate, obtain and deliverCDs, memory sticks,software.InstallsoftwareActions taken toResolve identified issuesDonatedbooks sortedandappropriateitems readyfor processingDeliver suppliesPHASE1PHASE 2PHASE 3PHASE 4Liberia Medical LibrariesUpgrade Plan
  5. 5. Ready for the NewReady for the NewSemesterSemester
  6. 6. Library as PlaceLibrary as Place
  7. 7. ChallengesChallenges• Lack of basic library supplies for processing• Lack of fuel for electricity to keep library open atnight• Lack of transportation for staff• Staff training—basic literacy, library science, andcomputer skills• No internet access
  8. 8. Part 2:Part 2:Introducing anIntroducing anAutomatedAutomatedSystemSystemAugust and September 2012
  9. 9. ConsiderationsConsiderations• Worked with Rong Tang to identify software• Elaine, Penny Glassman and Andrew Creamerevaluated Librarysoft® software• Simple interface• Basic OPAC, patron and cataloging databases• Ability to upload Excel® spreadsheets• Ability to move data• Hold up to 7,000 materials in the collection• Flexible site license and support
  10. 10. Bumps in the RoadBumps in the Road
  11. 11. Teaching the New SystemTeaching the New System
  12. 12. Holding ClassesHolding Classes
  13. 13. ChallengesChallenges• Having each staff member learn each other’sposition• Separating the system’s functions on separatelaptops• Having the knowledge and equipment to back upthe system databases and maintain• Getting the staff to see the IT administrator as anally• Integrating an automated workflow into a paper-based workflow
  14. 14. Adopting New PracticesAdopting New Practices
  15. 15. Teaching How to PrintTeaching How to Print
  16. 16. Bumps in the RoadBumps in the Road
  17. 17. ChallengesChallenges• Have the knowledge to open and locate students’files using a USB storage device• Have the knowledge to evaluate files beforeopening them and exposing the system to potentialviruses• Having the knowledge to run anti-virus applications• Maintain printer and its supplies
  18. 18. Securing the SystemSecuring the System
  19. 19. Locking Printer andLocking Printer andComputerComputer
  20. 20. Bolting Down CircBolting Down CircComputerComputer
  21. 21. Teaching Each OtherTeaching Each Other
  22. 22. Supporting Each OtherSupporting Each Other
  23. 23. Sharing ResponsibilitiesSharing Responsibilities
  24. 24. Having Staff Buy InHaving Staff Buy In
  25. 25. Bright FutureBright Future
  26. 26. Part 3: TeachingPart 3: Teaching• HINARI and ARDI• JFK Hospital Outreach• Outreach to UL and US Embassy Libraries• Creating a book bank• Two steps forward forward, one step back
  27. 27. Thank YouThank You
  28. 28. ContactContactElaine MartinElaine.Martin@umassmed.eduAndrew CreamerAndrew.creamer@umassmed.eduJames ComesJames.Comes@umassmed.edu