Award 2: Contribution to community health

Meet the winners!


Hoima Public Library, Uganda - Improving community health through ICT 


‘Gh. Asachi’ County Library Iași, Romania - First Aid Toolkit

Africa winner – Hoima Public Library, Uganda

Improving Community Health through ICT

Malaria is a special concern in Hoima District because it borders on Lake Albert, which is the seventh largest lake in Africa.

Immaculate Nyakato, of Hoima Nursing School

‘As nurses, we need to use knowledge offered by the ICT health corner to help our patients find health information to improve their health.’ – Immaculate Nyakato, of Hoima Nursing School.

Hoima Public Library’s health service is making a difference. The service includes free internet access, ICT and online research training. It also includes public health forums and film shows on local health issues.

In February 2012, just two years after the service was launched, a survey of library users found that over 20% more mothers now had mosquito nets in their homes, and over half are sleeping under the nets regularly, especially during pregnancy.

The survey also found a dramatic increase in health seeking behaviour among library users. Over 38% more youth, 39% more men and 29% more women are using the library to seek health information.

Mr. F. Byenume, Hoima District Health Inspector, reporting survey results at the library.

Findings like these mean that Hoima Public Library is attracting attention, and increasing numbers of government and civil society health service providers are using the service to train staff and conduct research.

The service is funded by the Hoima Municipal Council and its work is sustained and extended through creative partnerships. The National Library of Uganda provides technical support and resources; experts from the Red Cross/Hoima Branch, the Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organizations, Hoima Nursing School, Hoima Regional Referral Hospital and the Uganda Association of Private Vocational Institutions (UGAPRIV) offer lecturers for the public health forums and film shows, and help the library market the service and mobilize the community to attend events.

'We need to be sure our patients make informed decisions'

As health workers, we need to be aware of where and how our patients seek health information to ensure that they make informed decisions. The ICT health corner guides our patients and also provides access to programmes like Skype, Twitter, Facebook and email, which are all very important in service delivery.' - Brian Macoine – clinical officer, Hoima Regional Referral Hospital.

For further information, contact Geoffrey Tumwesigye, head of Hoima Public Library:

Hoima Public Library health forum

Hoima Public Library’s health forums and film shows attract many people, including medical and nursing students, social workers and members of the general public.

Europe winner – ‘Gh. Asachi’ County Library Iași, Romania

First Aid Toolkit – libraries saving lives

When Eurostat figures showed that one in three people involved in serious accidents in Romania dies through lack of First Aid treatment, librarians at ‘Gh. Asachi’ County Library Iași decided that something had to be done.

They approached the Red Cross, who provided free certified First Aid training to three librarians. The three librarians created a website with an online training course and resources for further learning. With a small grant (US$2,500) from Biblionet Romania, they bought a high-tech First Aid dummy to use for demonstrations and some training materials.

The First Aid Toolkit was ready for action – and has been extremely busy. The service has trained 90 librarians in 86 libraries across Romania. These libraries have trained over 2,000 people to administer First Aid in just over a year.

Using the high tech dummy for First Aid practice.

Big hearts make things work

The Biblionet grant was the service’s only external funding. All activities are carried out by volunteers, who pay their own travel, communication and other small costs. The Red Cross, the head of the ER Hospital in Iași and doctors of the Iași Ambulance Department all volunteer for the service, providing training and expertise. The librarians who conduct training are all volunteers.

The library says – it’s not about the money spent, but about the big hearts that make things work.

‘First Aid training is essential!’

‘I am 17 years old and last summer I volunteered for training of librarians in First Aid. I believe that these courses are essential because emergencies are unpredictable and very often when emergencies happen there is no doctor around. Right after I took part in this training I became a volunteer with the Red Cross, where I now have the opportunity to put my knowledge into practice.’  - Volunteer, Danut Nita, Popricani village.

‘I saved my nephew’s life!’

Demonstrating the Heimlich Maneuver.

Eating together on Sunday has been a tradition of our family for generations. Everybody comes to lunch and our weekly reunion is a great joy for us.

One Sunday afternoon, my youngest nephew was misbehaving at lunch, crying and refusing to swallow his soup. Suddenly, he started making a suspicious noise… we realized he was choking!

We were all afraid. Some called for water for the boy, others wanted to call an ambulance. One of the men shouted: ‘Does anybody know CPR?’

I answered that I had done a course in resuscitation techniques, including CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). I immediately remembered all the details of the Heimlich Maneuver. I gathered my strength. I put my arms around his chest and strongly compressed his sternum. I repeated the action twice. His face had become blue – but after the Maneuver, he started coughing and his colour changed.

When the ambulance came, the doctor congratulated me. From the bottom of my heart, I thank the librarian - Mihaela Cojocaru, Pascani City Library – who taught me how to save someobody’s life! - Carmen Pasat, teacher at High School ‘Miron Costin’.

For further information, contact Mihail Grinea at ‘Gh.Asachi’ County Library Iaşi:

Successful trainees – certified to administer First Aid after training at the library.

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