Date Published: 12 February 2009

Lack of healthcare information threatens patient safety, according to health agencies

The global campaign ‘Healthcare Information for All by 2015’ (HIFA2015) has justannounced its Annual Challenge for 2009:

Addressing the information needs of nurses and midwives in low-income settings.

The 2009 Challenge will bring together thousands of nurses, midwives, publishers and librarians to work out ways to improve the quality and availability of information for nurses and midwives in developing countries. Their common goal is that by 2015, every nurse and midwife will have access to the information they need to learn, to diagnose, to provide appropriate care and treatment, and to save lives.

The 2009 Challenge group is supported by the British Medical Association, Global Alliance for Nursing and Midwifery, International Confederation of Midwives, International Council of Nurses, Midwives Information and Resource Service, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, and the World Health Organization. Together they are calling for relevant, reliable healthcare information to be made more easily accessible to nurses and midwives in the developing world.

Dr Jean Yan, Coordinator of Health Professions Networks and Chief Scientist, Nursing and Midwifery, at the World Health Organization, Geneva, said that:

" Nurses and midwives, as the largest group of healthcare providers, are often the first point of contact for individuals and communities most in need. The collaboration between the World Health Organization, HIFA2015 and our partners will improve access and exchange of high quality, evidence-based and appropriate knowledge for nurses and midwives worldwide. The WHO Office of Nursing and Midwifery supports the 2009 Challenge in achieving this common goal."

David Benton, Chief Executive Officer, International Council of Nurses (ICN), said:

"Lack of accurate and current health information is a serious threat to patient safety and quality of care. ICN is determined to address this through initiatives such as the ICN Nursing Mobile Library. I call on all partners to join in reaching the world's nurses and midwives with current health information."

Jackie Cheeseborough, Learning & Development Manager for Information & Knowledge Management at the Royal College of Nursing of the UK added:

"Good quality, up to date, relevant evidence is essential for improving patient care, and that is why the RCN is giving its full support to this important campaign. Our own survey shows that if health practitioners have access to information they will use it to bring about change."

Cathy Warwick, General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives (UK) said:

"Information gives midwives and other health workers power; the power to stop women and babies dying needlessly. This is very valuable work that will make a major and life-saving difference to women and babies across the world, and I am delighted to be supporting this collaborative effort."

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Coordinator of the HIFA2015 campaign said:

" HIFA2015 is raising awareness of this vital issue, thereby improving the provision of health information, and improving health outcomes. We call on governments and funding agencies to support efforts to meet the needs of nurses and midwives so that people do not die because of a simple lack of basic healthcare information."

Source: Royal College of Nursing (RCN), UK.
For more information see http://www.rcn.org.uk.

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