E-health is an emerging service sector which has great potential to improve healthcare delivery to rural communities and to promote health education and research. The high cost of healthcare, coupled with high levels of poverty and inadequate health infrastructure, has led many people to seek information from libraries. However, libraries have not been equipped to handle these requests.
Kenya National Library Service (KNLS) is addressing this urgent need.
The innovative service
With support from the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) in 2010, the library set up e-health corners in two libraries in the towns of Kisumu and Eldoret. Both towns face special health needs. Kisumu district has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in Kenya, and because it is located on the banks of Lake Victoria, struggles with malaria. Eldoret, in the Great Rift Valley, has significant levels of tropical diseases. The e-health corners are dedicated spaces where health workers can use the internet to access online health resources.
The two libraries also increased their stocks of books and journals on health issues; trained health workers and members of the public to use the e-health corners to find health information online, and organized public events on health issues.
Eifl-plip project timeline
May 2010 - April 2011.
achievements and impact
In less than a year (2010/2011), the two libraries trained over 1,600 health workers, students and members of the public to use the e-health corners to access online health resources. KNLS conducted a survey of health workers who used the e-health corners: results showed that over 95% had successfully found the resources they were looking for.
The two branch libraries are now recognized as significant health information providers. They regularly host lectures for the general public on topics of local importance, like personal hygiene, malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Lecturers use the resources in the e-health corners to prepare their presentations.