In the spirit of partnership, this month IFLA features the IFLA Health and Biosciences (HBS) Section and their partner the IFLA Evidence for Global Disaster and Health (E4GDH) Special Interest Group in the Units + Strategy recognition series, for their collaborative efforts not only with each other, but with several external medical and health-related information organisations.  Read about what they’ve been doing and what they’ve got planned for 2022-2023.

1.2 Build a strong presence in international organizations and meetings as a valued partner / 2.2 Deliver high quality campaigns, information and other communications products on a regular basis to engage and energise libraries

Since the first survey of activities in medical libraries worldwide in London in 1953, HBS has provided professional support for the International Congress of Medical Librarianship (ICML). In support of the Units’ efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Congress reflects medical librarians and other information professionals’ contributions to achieve global health goals by connecting, engaging, and ultimately improving health and saving lives. 2022 found the Section, along with the E4GDH SIG, collaborating with the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA) at the Congress held in March of 2022, themed, “A call for action: Engaging to save lives.”

Wrapping up the Unit’s work reviewing the content of library curricula in East, Central, and Southern Africa and identifying health science librarians’ training needs, former HBS Chair Prof Maria Musoke presented the project findings during the ICML+ AHILA congress. The paper, which identified gaps including health informatics training and highlighting quality low-cost and no-cost resources, was well received. Combining international and regional conferences provides a valuable platform for a global audience of health information professionals to hear about the latest research, share learning, and discuss best practices.

This Congress documents the Unit’s and IFLA’s contribution to libraries, as observed in publications such as ‘Access and opportunities for all: How libraries contribute to the United Nations 2030 Agenda’. The call for hosts for the 2025/6 Congress is live and open for proposals.

2.3 Develop standards, guidelines, and other materials that foster best professional practice

Planned for publication in mid to late 2023, HBS will sponsor the editing of a book titled, ‘Libraries Empowering Society through Digital Literacy’, as part of the IFLA Publications Series. The book examines ways in which all types of libraries can ensure that information in multiple digital formats is used effectively in many settings by various groups of learners

Information today is created, communicated, discovered, accessed, and used in many different digital formats for multiple purposes. Medical information professionals and educators must understand the variety of forms information can be effectively presented and how to create and share information through multiple mediums. Through case studies, project reports, essays, reviews, and curated resources, this book will foster conversations to ensure widespread access to and adoption of the skills and knowledge needed for individuals to function as digitally capable members of society.

3.4 Provide targeted learning and professional development

A webinar series with the theme ‘Combatting Misinformation in the Information Age’, is ongoing. Based on the high-priority research needs highlighted in the World Health Organization’s Public Health Research Agenda for Managing Infodemics, the series spotlights the contributions that medical librarians and other information professionals make to achieve global health goals by improving information access and combatting the spread of misinformation. Webinar proposals are open and accepted on an ongoing basis.

3.3 Empower the field at the national and regional levels

After a successful hosting of a 2021 webinar in support of World Evidence Based Healthcare Day, highlighting the role of librarians in leading infodemic management campaigns, HBS has registered as a 2022 EBHD Ambassador, posted a vlog on YouTube and are planning a future webinar, focusing on partnerships.

Their 2021 experience has allowed HBS to join the global evidence community to share their experiences, expertise, and stories on infodemic management, including facilitating accurate knowledge translation and building eHealth/science literacy. The event highlighted librarians and information professionals as leaders and experts in infodemic management-related activities and informed the sector’s potential inclusion in infodemic management/infodemiology-related work.

See this article for more information about HBS and E4GDH’s involvement in this year’s World Evidence-based Healthcare Day.