Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Health literacy; in India, in urban North American #wlic2013

Today at the IFLA conference I caught most of Maitrayee Ghosh's paper on Health literacy for all- an investigation into consortia and partnership amongst libraries to promote health care information in India. In it she gave a perspective on health literacy in India where there is a divide between the elite, who have good-quality care and are reasonably health literate, and the much larger number who do not have access to good quality care and furthermore experience significant barriers to their health literacy. The speaker said that 100% of communications from doctors were in English, a language which many of the patients didn't understand (in response to a question the speaker said the solution isn't as straightforward as one might think, since althoughHindi is the official language, there are about 2000 languages in India). 85% of women bring along a more literate family member. Under these circumstances, things like reading instructions for medicines are problematic.
The speaker described some initiatives to help with health literacy e.g. Mumbai's Health Education Library for People (HELP) (although again, that is in English) The speaker outlined some models (e.g. a "Health Literacy and women" diagram) and identified a lack of ccordination and collaboration: she proposed some collaborations that could be formed by librarians. The full paper is at http://library.ifla.org/161/7/123-ghosh-en.pdf

I didn't hear it, but this paper from the same session also looks particularly interesting:
Dalrymple, Prudence W., Rogers, Michelle, Turner, Kathleen and Green, Mary (2013) "Partnering to encourage health information seeking by patients in an urban clinic". Paper presented at: IFLA World Library and Information Congress, 17 - 23 August 2013, Singapore. http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/83 "This paper will report on work informed by the theoretical framework put forth by Don Nutbeam, a public health researcher who views health information seeking as a fundamental component in achieving health literacy and ultimately, improved health outcomes. In this pilot project, a multidisciplinary team that included librarians worked together to develop and test the feasibility of a mobile phone application aimed at increasing health information seeking by expectant mothers. It will also distinguish between “ a partnership” and “a collaboration” and will suggest that effective work in health literacy may require roles for librarians that differ from those traditionally assumed in delivering health information services."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Singapore, dusk, August 2013

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