Unlocking access to vital health information in Papua New Guinea

WHO/Y. Shimizu

Access to the latest information is vital for today's health workers, but in places where resources are constrained, getting it can be challenging.

In response to this, the World Health Organization (WHO) established the HINARI Access to Research for Health programme together with major publishers in January 2002. Through HINARI, users in a number of low- and middle-income countries have free or low-cost access to one of the world's largest collections of biomedical and health literature.

“The quest for knowledge and information is key to better health, and it can be life-saving. But in places like Papua New Guinea, it’s not easy to come by. Without HINARI, subscriptions to all the relevant health and medical journals are just too costly for low-income countries, and this can seriously impede learning and hinder development," says Dr Luo Dapeng, WHO Representative in Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea has been particularly engaged. Since 2016, WHO has delivered a series of HINARI workshops to train more than 150 health workers from 10 provinces in the country. During the second half of this year, WHO is doing three more HINARI courses in Papua New Guinea. In August, a workshop was held in Arawa, in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. This week, training for nurses, community health workers, doctors and students is underway in Kimbe, West New Britain. A final course is to take place in the capital, Port Moresby, before the end of the year.

The August 2017 course was for nursing staff and students from Arawa and other health workers from Central Bougainville. As well as delivering the workshop, WHO also provided Arawa School of Nursing with IT equipment and publications to make sure they can continue to access HINARI.

After taking part in the workshop, Ms Myrtle Sammy, a participant and tutor from Arawa School of Nursing, thanked WHO: “We can now access current or up-to-date information instead of relying on the outdated textbooks that we have.”

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