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University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences Library Mr. Masimba Muziringa My participation at this Health Libraries Group Conference 2012, has been made possible courtesy of a bursary from CILIP HLG. I want to thank them all for affording me this great opportunity.

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University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences Library Mr. Masimba Muziringa

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University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences Library

Mr. Masimba Muziringa

My participation at this Health Libraries Group Conference 2012, has been made possible courtesy of a bursary from CILIP HLG.

I want to thank them all for affording me this great opportunity.

Brief background about Zimbabwe

Understanding the role of the University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences (UZ CHS) Library to inform medical education, teaching, research, and improved health outcomes in Zimbabwe.

Interesting Questions?

  • What is the role of the medical library in medical education and teaching?

  • Is the medical library important in medical research?

  • Is the medical librarian a valid member of the healthcare delivery team?

  • Are there any new skills required to function and perform effectively in this environment?

Presentation Overview

  • Background to the UZCHS Library

  • Access to Information resources.

  • Training Programmes

    • Health Information Literacy

    • Evidence based medicine literature searching

    • Information Retrieval and Online Research.

  • Partnerships and collaborations

  • Conclusion

Background to UZCHS Library

  • UZCHS Library is the medical branch unit of the University of Zimbabwe Libraries

  • Currently the ONLY Medical Library in Zimbabwe.

  • It caters for 23 teaching departments as well as 4 research institutes.


  • It has the mandate of providing access to scholarly medical information.

  • Supports medical education, teaching and research in Zimbabwe.

  • Nominated as the national focal point for the dissemination of health information in Zimbabwe.

  • UZCHS Library is also the W.H.O country depository library

Access to Information Resources

  • 70 000 printed copies of health sciences textbooks.

  • Provides access to 6 000 e-Books.

  • Access to 8 500 journals through HINARI.

  • INASP PERI resources

  • UpToDate Clinical database

HINARI homepage

UpToDate Point-of-Care Database

UpToDate search results

Access to ICT infrastructure..

  • Wireless connection available

  • Internet bandwidth has been increased from 50 to the current 150 megabits per second.

    (A 10 paged article can take less than 1 minute to download)

  • Internet access available to students, medical researchers, academics, clinicians.

Three Pieces of the Puzzle





Health Information Literacy Training

  • 7 NLM Affiliates/Associates from Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe submitted a proposal to NLM to develop IL manual.

  • There was a need to standardise the training of Health Information Literacy in Africa.

  • The course is now being taught and is part of the curriculum at UZ CHS.

Health Information Literacy Training: Modules

  • Module 1-Information Sources

  • Module 2-Searching Tools

  • Module 3- Searching Techniques

  • Module 4-Intellectual Property Rights

  • Module 5-Evaluating & Managing Information Resources

  • Module 6-Communication Skills

Health Information Literacy: Training manual

  • The NAML received funding from the National Library of Medicine (NLM)in USA for the production of the manual.

  • The manual has also been translated into French and Portuguese and is also available in print as well as an online versions.

  • Currently the manual is being used to train health care professionals in Africa.

Health Information Literacy: Online Manual

NAML :Network Members

Information Retrieval and Online Research

  • The UZCHS library conducted a needs survey on the utilisation of electronic resources among academic staff.

  • The survey indicated a lamenting lack in:

    • Knowledge of the electronic resources available

    • The skills in accessing and retrieving the information.

    • Critical skills of evaluating the literature.

Information Retrieval and Online Research

  • As a direct response, the UZCHS came up with an evidence informed training curriculum that covered:

    • Planning a research search strategy

    • Generic ICT skills required in online research.

    • Evaluation of information sources

    • Reference management and anti plagiarism.

Training in Progress

Information Retrieval and Online Research: Evaluation

  • Post training assessment done have currently showed:

    • Increased utilisation of electronic resources through download statistics.

    • Increased research output by medical researchers through total number of articles published in a year.

    • Improved quality in research.

Evidence Based Medicine Literature Searching

  • The UZCHS has started rolling out trainings on evidence based literature searching which are aimed at improving access to information that results in improved health care delivery..

  • This training seeks to achieve these objectives:

    • Constructing a clinical question.

    • Search strategy formulation using a PICO.

    • Selection of appropriate sources for searching

    • Appraising the evidence for its validity and applicability.

Searching Strategy Overview: Formulate clinical questions

  • Patient, Population, Problem.

    • What are the characteristics of the patient or population?

    • What is the condition or disease you are interested in.

  • Intervention or exposure

    • What do you want to do with this patient (e.g treat, diagnose, observe?)

  • Comparison

    • What is the alternative to the intervention (e. g Placebo, different drug, surgery?)

  • Outcome

    • What are the relevant outcomes (e.g morbidity, death, complications)

Example of a Case

  • In female diabetic adult patients, the treatment given at a rural clinic for vaginal candida is clotrimazole vaginal cream. Could there be a shorter period to cure if miconazole were used instead?







Answerable question

Female Diabetic Adults With Vaginal Candida

Miconazole Vaginal Cream

Clotrimazole Vaginal Cream

Reduced period to cure, candida

In [Female Diabetic Adults With Vaginal Candida] is [Miconazole Vaginal Cream] better than [Clotrimazole Vaginal Cream] at [reducing Period to cure of candida]?

Outreach Activities

  • UZCHS Library has a mandate of being the national focal point for the dissemination of health information.

  • Capacity building programmes in finding, organising and using health information

    • Health Sciences Librarians

    • Health care professionals

Partnerships and Collaborations: Resource Mobilisation

  • Health Inter Network Access to Research Initiatives (HINARI)

  • INASP PERI programme

  • Book Aid International

  • Global Health Delivery Online (UpToDate Clinical Database)


Partnerships and Collaborations: Professional

  • Zimbabwe Health Libraries Consortium

  • Network of African Medical Librarians (NAML)

  • Association of Health Information Libraries in Africa (AHILA)



  • Limited/No budgetary support for collection development.

  • Limited computing training facilities.

  • Limited support for outreach programmes

  • Limited support for capacity building programmes

Opportunities and the way forward

  • Stronger collaborations and cooperation

  • Capacity building initiatives

  • Sustainability

Thank you

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