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Advocating for change in the developing world: winners' stories

Celebrating information in action with INASP and Research4Life

Laura Montgomery Communications Manager, Taylor & Francis

Taylor & Francis is committed to a number of developing world initiatives, as part of our mission to support libraries and researchers across the globe in making real change to their own communities Information in Action INASP Research4Lifeand the wider world through the access to evidence-based research.

In 2016, our partners at Research4Life and INASP launched a competition to uncover the successes of librarians, doctors and researchers from around the world advocating for research support. Hundreds of entries were received – many sharing the hurdles they had overcome to boost leadership support for peer-reviewed resources and for evidence-based policies based on that critical information. These include resources to improve access, infrastructure and funding, all of which contribute to improved evidence-based health care, agriculture and environmental policies.

To celebrate their work Research4Life and INASP collected and curated seven of the most impactful case studies in their Information in Action booklet, including the inspiring stories of the two winners:

Advocating for technology: Mary Acanit, Kyambog University, Kampala, Uganda

The Kyambogo University in Uganda is enthusiastic about moving forward with technology, and adopting less traditional modes of operating. Mary is an Assistant Librarian and has played a key role in making this a reality:

“The role of the library in an academic institution cannot be underestimated. Libraries play a central role in research through acquiring and making accessible research information to the academic community. Libraries also go out of their way to forecast the information needs of their communities.”

As part of the library management team, Mary lobbied for a number of policies – including connecting the university to RENU (the Research and Education Network for Uganda), which allowed them to obtain a budget to network the library services centre and allow wireless internet connection in certain areas.

Find out more about her advocacy work in this short film or read her full story.

A call to action: Alice Matimba, Department of Clinical Pharmacology, College of Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe.

Research on diabetes in Zimbabwe is still inadequate, and it is because of this that patients are not usually tested for retinopathy – the most common cause of blindness in patients, which can be prevented if diagnosed and treated early on.

As a PhD Senior Lecturer of Pharmacology at the University of Zimbabwe, Alice Matimba decided to take action in addressing the serious health effects of diabetes:

“Thanks to Research4Life for providing digital access to evidence-based scientific information, we were finally capable of doing a review of the literature which confirmed our hypothesis. It enabled flexibility of research ideas which would lead to solutions. We were able to find the best literature suited for our needs.”

Alice & her team established telemedicine and pilot a tele-ophthalmology clinic as a cheap and fast way of treating eye-care solutions, as well as advocating for a number of policies to better manage the problem.
Download the Information in Action booklet to read her full story.

Taylor & Francis would like to congratulate Mary and Alice, who were invited to attend and speak at both the 2017 Publishers for Development conference with INASP and the annual Research4Life Partners’ General meeting in Oxford, as well Dinah Baidoo, an assistant librarian at Ashesi University College in Berekuso, Ghana, who received an honourable mention, as well as the many other applicants who advocated for real change.

Find out more about other developing world initiatives.

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