Building an African library collaboration!

For the first time in history 24 medical librarians and health information specialists from 7 African countries (Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa) gathered in Addis Ababa to learn, think, share and act regarding evidence based health information. During the first week of October, the Royal Tropical Institute and the Collaboration for Evidence Based Healthcare in Africa (CEBHA), together with the University of Addis Ababa arranged a 5 days ‘Training of the Trainers’ workshop in Addis Ababa.

The workshop was about how to find the best available evidence for priority health issues in Africa and about how to assist and train health workers and researchers in efficiently searching and retrieving evidence based information.

The course focused on the key role that librarians play in supporting the practice and implementation of evidence based healthcare in Africa. The workshop was made possible by a grant from the Innovative Libraries Program of the Elsevier Foundation.

Irrespectively of where you live, the need for solid evidence to achieve effective health care is of utmost importance.


To be able to work in an evidence based manner health workers need to be able to find and contextualize the evidence. Libraries and librarians are key support functions in this matter. 

The course covered the following items:

  • Basic principles of Evidence Based Healthcare
  • Role of librarians in Evidence Based Healthcare
  • Formulating answerable questions
  • Information resources for Evidence Based Healthcare
  • Searching relevant health information databases
  • Reference management tools
  • Presentation skills


General courses on Evidence Based Healthcare will be arranged the coming years in all of the eight countries involved in the Collaboration for Evidence Based Healthcare in Africa. The trained librarians will be responsible for teaching health personnel on how to search and retrieve the best available evidence for the health problems in their setting.