“The books received from Book Aid International were FABULOUS! I work in a hospital with very few qualified staff and minimal resources…These books have been well distributed in the different departments – wards, physio and occupational therapy departments, medical wards, paediatric units etc. Already they have stimulated in-service training and skill-sharing.”
Health books and information are expensive and difficult to obtain in sub-Saharan Africa and there is an enormous demand from health workers and communities for information that can help them prevent and deal with illness and disease. Our Books for Health programme enables doctors, students and ordinary individuals to access the information they need to treat patients, pass exams and protect their own health and that of their families.
Book Aid International sends over 30,000 health titles to around 75 organisations each year. For many of our partners, the medical and health books we provide constitute the vast majority of their collection and are an essential resource for health practitioners – from doctors and nurses to community health workers and traditional healers – as well as for communities where there is no health practitioner. The books we send range from diagnostic and pharmaceutical manuals for hospital and university libraries, to healthcare handbooks for community libraries.
We recently heard from Kenya Medical Training College about the importance of the books we send them for their pharmacy students.
“Most medical books are not locally available. Further, they are extremely expensive and the budget can only purchase a few. [The pharmacy] department … has not had relevant and current books since it was started five years ago. They had been requesting for books but the college was not able to purchase due to inadequate funds. This had affected the performance of the students and strained the parents financially. The lecturers also had to travel all the way to Nairobi to access books.”
“When books from Book Aid International were delivered, there was a lot of excitement in the department. Pharmacy students now regularly use the library. Reports from the Head of Department indicate that academic performance of students has improved. They appreciate Book Aid international for making their learning experience better.”
We also purchase specialist titles where there is demand and we are able to secure funding. For instance, in 2013 we purchased and shipped over 600 HIV/AIDS readers and some 500 related health and medical titles for young people to libraries in Uganda. These books included Heinemann HIV/AIDS readers for children such as Hospital Scares Me, I am HIV Positive, and HIV: When someone dies, which present important information about living with and protecting against HIV/AIDS in an accessible format.
From 2010-2013 we worked with the Kenya National Library Service (KNLS) to develop dedicated Health information Hubs in 15 libraries across Kenya.