Participants' reflections on the CEBHA Training of Trainers workshop for librarians in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Masimba Clyde MuziringaMasimba Clyde Muziringa works as a librarian at the College of Health Sciences Library of the University of Zimbabwe. He gained experience with Evidence Based Healthcare (EBHC) previously this year, when he co-facilitated a training session on Evidence Based Healthcare for CEBHA in Zimbabwe, together with dr. Kimberly Boer: "This training session, which was followed by other training sessions which I did at the University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences, managed to strengthen and sharpen my knowledge, skills and appreciation of EBHC. To date, I have co-facilitated more than 10 sessions of EBHC literature searching, targeting mainly clinicians and physicians who are working as Registrars at various hospitals in Harare, Zimbabwe", says Muziringa.

He found the training workshop in Addis Ababa "exceptionally appropriate for me in many respects. One of which was having the privilege of sharing experiences and knowledge with fellow information professionals and librarians from other African countries. Coming from a background of a generally good conceptual and practical appreciation of EBHC, this training workshop was particularly good in helping me to refine and polish the skills and knowledge I had as well as confirming it with other the facilitators and other participants."

Jeanne-Lise Gatera"Librarians will play an important role in promoting Evidence Based Healthcare, because of their knowledge on how to identity and disseminate evidence based information and by training the community that they serve and by assisting this community in making health informed decisions."
Jeanne-Lise Gatera, Director of the Kigali Health Institute Library, Rwanda

Muziringa sees a prominent role for librarians in promoting evidence based health care in his country: "A librarian is generally involved in creating, organising, managing and disseminating knowledge. In this regard, this makes the librarian the nerve centre in EBHC. The librarian is thus challenged to help in training clinicians and physicians in getting the relevant skills and knowledge required to access, search, retrieve and manage knowledge for improved patient care. The library can also be instrumental in teaching and training undergraduate students on EBHC at an early stage. This can be done through the Health Information Literacy Training, which is already part of the curriculum in Zimbabwe. This can help in institutionalizing and inculcating the need for the evidence informed practice at an early stage. Capacity building initiatives to other Health Sciences Librarians who have not been privileged to be part of this core group on issues of EBHC is another area that can be explored by librarians in our countries so as to promote EBHC. The librarians can also lobby to doctors associations like the Zimbabwe Medical Association, ZIMA, for serious recognition and training in EBHC as part of continuous professional development of healthcare professionals."

Vital Karagiye"The workshop was very interesting, because I have applied so many useful things that were not known to me before, such as using Zotero [for reference management, formulating clinical queries using] PICO, Evidence Based Healthcare, and more."

Vital Karagiye, Librarian at the National Institute of Public Health, Burundi

When asked how can CEBHA help stimulate networking and collaboration between librarians in Africa, Muziringa says: "I believe that through the Elsevier grant, CEBHA already initiated the establishment of this core group of information professionals and librarians, which is in its own an important feat and milestone. What then would need to be facilitated is the leadership role by CEBHA to ensure that this core group expands and makes a wider impact in the countries they come from through trainings, advocacy and promotion of EBHC. Subject to availability of sustainable seed support and leverage from partners, CEBHA may also work towards the creation of a secretariat of the collaboration in Africa with nodes or country chapters in each of the participating countries in this project. This will strengthen, stimulate and institutionalize evidence based healthcare in Africa. It is also instructive to note that participants in this group are not at the same level in terms of their knowledge and skills to transfer the training and support required in EBHC. This then necessitates CEBHA to deliberately encourage the creation of cohort of several countries preferably those in the proximity to continuously share notes and exchange experiences to ensure that those members with lagging experience are given support."


Meraf WoldeAmanuel
"CEBHA helps to form an integration between African librarians in a way that didn't happen until now. It was great and I think it will continue in the future."

Meraf WoldeAmanuel, Librarian and database researcher at the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Institute (EHNRI)

Lastly, Muziringa wishes to point out that "Africa is a region facing a heavy burden in many health related areas and the use and institutionalization of EBHC can prove to be one of the sustainable ways in which Africa may realise improved health outcomes. Health librarians and information professionals in Africa are an important component in knowledge creation, management and dissemination, thus there have to be deliberate efforts to ensure that programmes of EBHC are institutionalized and are sustainable in the long run."