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The Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA) is a professional association founded in 1984 with 46 member countries, partners and collaborators worldwide.

The Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa was founded in Nairobi on Thursday 23 August 1984 under the name - Association of African Medical Librarians Association (AMLA). The name later changed in 1988 to the 'Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa' so as to cater for those who are interested in health information issues and may not be librarians.

Aims and Objectives:
Improve provision of up-to-date and relevant health information
Encourage professional development of health librarians
Promote resource sharing in Africa and exchange of experiences
Promote the development and standardisation and exchange of health databases in Africa

Leader in promoting access and use of health information in Africa


News & Updates

A new Executive Committee Elected

At the recently held AHILA 14 Congress a new Executive Committee was elected into office. 

We would like to welcome the incoming AHILA President, Dr Rehema Chande Mallya and her Executive and wish them every success during their term in office. 

Find more information about the Executive Committee here


Keep abreast of the developments in AHILA through the newsletters

Ugandan medical librarians win African health award
Two medical librarians from Uganda, Dr Alison Kinengyere and Ms Glorias Asiimwe, respectively Chair and Secretary of UG-AHILA, (the local country chapter of the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa)  received a prestigious award for their report on health information activities in their country on 20 October 2014. Granted by AHILA and Partnerships in Health Information (Phi), the prize of £500 was sponsored by CABI, publishers of world-renowned bibliographic database, Global Health. Vice President of Tanzania, Mohamed Gharib Bilal, presented the award to the winners at the 14th AHILA Congress, which is taking place 20-24 October 2014 in Dar es Salaam.

The prize is intended to strengthen and support an existing AHILA chapter or facilitate the process of forming a country chapter with links to its national library association. Entrants were asked to describe partnership activities and events relevant to health information in their country, and show how they would spend the prize money to strengthen future health information activities.

Reviewed by a committee of distinguished international information professionals, judges said the librarians’ report was, “compelling in demonstrating a clear desire to develop the AHILA chapter, both in terms of activities and extended membership. Their objectives for the use of funding were clear and realistic.”

Dr Alison Kinengyere of Albert Cook Medical Library, Makerere University and Ms Glorias Asiimwe of Busitema University were very excited to win the award. “When I heard the news”, said Alison, “I felt humbled and thrilled that Glorias and I had won the award. Our Chapter has challenges and this will encourage and inspire us in overcoming them.”

Alison Kinengyere has worked with Phi organizing training workshops on the role that health librarians can play in improving public access to health information. A health librarian’s skill set is important for sourcing reliable evidence-based health information, partnership building and collaboration across professions. Glorias Asiimwe was formerly Education Lead at the African Prisons Project and is now Medical Librarian at Busitema University School of Medicine (BUSM), which is the newest medical school in Uganda, having been part of Busitema University.

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Gharib Bilal, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, opened the AHILA Congress. He commented that the use of ICTs to enhance the management, access and sharing of health information and knowledge, particularly in Africa’s rural communities where information asymmetries are more pronounced, is a development priority; the skills and expertise of AHILA’s members could make a significant contribution. He urged that they develop realistic, focused and implementable strategies and recommendations.

Message from the President

Dear Colleagues

Please take a moment to read the simplified guidance below. This is a wonderful opportunity to share an update with your colleagues as all submissions will be posted on AHILA’s website before the Dar es Salaam Congress. No more than 1,000 words are required ( max 1,500) and entries can be accepted in AHILA’s three official languages.

The purpose  is to highlight the various health information activities/initiatives that have been taking place in different countries  in Africa where there are active members of AHILA.

We know that members of AHILA are professionally active, have  networks within country and have great expertise to share. The task is not difficult if you think of it as ‘News from [country name]’ and of the poem below..

I keep six honest serving-men
  (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
  And How and Where and Who

DRAFT example for Health activity  in X

What about our country and its health issues?
Health infrastructure  and challenges. Is there an  MoH strategy /or not ; any links with MoH?  Key health problems  are?   Health institutions?  Medical/nursing  schools hospitals with librarians/ libraries. Health education expanding/static.

Raison d’etre. Contribution and role of health librarians? Changing? Expanding? Traditional? 

Any key  dates

How do we operate formal/informal network? Are we professionally active? If so how? Meetings? Projects? Conferences? Workshops?  Training?  Are we involved? MEPI? NAML? BookAid? INASP? Phi?  Other partnerships?  Are  we not very active?  Or even  not  active?

Are activities focused? In the Centre? in rural areas? Room space provided by members?

Is there  a country chapter of AHILA? Is there an informal network? Who is chair? Key committee/leaders ?

In summary  a productive time? Need/want  to do more …..?  if we/this report won the CABI prize we would spend it on…..?

The winning entry  will also benefit with  prize money 500 GBP  which is intended  to help local AHILA chapters to grow or to be set up. 
There  are a  few more details  on AHILA’s website (http://ahila.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=83). You will see the request is  really  a very simple one.  Finally be proud of yourselves and  your colleagues and what has been achieved.  This competition  is  not looking for  anything more complicated than what is  outlined above. This structure is indicative not prescriptive.  If you have other ideas these are welcome !

All entrants will be rewarded with a flash drive for submitting a report.
Please do not ignore this request as it is  important to step forward and  engage with those willing to support and fund AHILA  activities. For more information you can contact chipo@itca.org.

Deadlines for submissions is Monday, 29 September 2014

I would like to thank Phi and CABI for collaborating with AHILA in this initiative

Nasra Gathoni, President, AHILA

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