Video Spotlight

"'I'm a Health Worker' - Abduaraman Gidi" made by IntraHealth International.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh

Poor knowledge among health care providers (including health workers and citizens) leads to poor health outcomes. This article discusses current linear research-to-practice paradigms and argues that these approaches are not meeting the needs of health care providers in low- and middle-income countries. It suggests a broader, needs-led approach. This approach must look beyond perceived needs and identify actual needs in relation to knowledge and practice, including learning needs and point-of-use needs.

The availability of reliable, appropriate health care information for providers is dependent on the integrity of the global health care knowledge system, which embraces health professionals, policymakers, researchers, publishers, librarians, information specialists, and others. Three intrinsic weaknesses of the system need to be addressed: communication among stakeholders; an evolving, collective understanding of the system’s components and how they interrelate; and effective advocacy to raise awareness of this issue and the need for funders and governments to support collective efforts to strengthen the knowledge system. This can be done at the country level but must be accompanied by an international effort including knowledge networks such as Healthcare Information for All by 2015 involving diverse individuals and organizations.

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