Sponsored by the IFLA Health and Biosciences Section, the IFLA Evidence for Global and Disaster Health (E4GDH) Special Interest Group works to promote and strengthen the roles that librarians play in times of disaster and in response to global health challenges. 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.

1.1   Show the power of libraries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals / 1.2   Build a strong presence in international organizations and meetings as a valued partner

The COVID-19 pandemic underlined the importance of timely access to quality evidence, while simultaneously highlighting existing cracks in the evidence ecosystem. Calls from Cochrane and The Global Commission on Evidence to Address Societal Challenges to include improving equity in evidence-informed decision-making formed the basis for our roundtable during IFLA WLIC 2022 in Dublin. [E4GDH supports the call to action on Trusted Evidence for All]

‘Health information as a human right: developments over the past year’ was an update from Advisory Group member Margaret Sullivan following our 2021 provocation. Our committee is developing an advocacy campaign ‘Access to health information as part of human rights’, in collaboration with Health Information for All, to take this work forward.

The campaign seeks to expand understanding of fundamental need and right for reliable health information, at all parts of the knowledge cycle. This contributes towards the SDGs including public access to health and wellness information in support of SDG 3 and Equitable access to information as trusted institutions under SDG 10.

2.4 Provide tools and infrastructure that support the work of libraries

A second project is the development of a Global and Disaster Toolkit for Librarians, which builds upon E4GH’s work in three interlinked areas:

  • advocacy, recognising our profession’s contributions as developers and mobilisers of trusted evidence is often unrecognised;
  • skills development, helping ensure that librarians have the skills and capabilities to respond in times of crisis;
  • developing and signposting resources and publications to support evidence-based practice.

The toolkit will bring together good practice, short case studies and research findings.

3.3 Empower the field at the national and regional levels

After a successful joint hosting of a 2021 webinar ‘Librarians lead in times of crisis’ in support of World Evidence Based Healthcare Day, highlighting the role of librarians as community first responders and in leading infodemic management campaigns, E4GDH has registered as a 2022 EBHC Ambassador, posted a vlog and are planning a future webinar, focusing on partnerships.

E4GDH will be announcing a call for new members to join the Special Interest Group committee and Advisory Group. They particularly welcome expressions of interest from regions currently under-represented in the committee – Africa, Asia-Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean.