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Cervical cancer screening and management of cervical pre-cancers. Training of community health workers.
New Delhi, India, WHO, Regional Office for South-East Asia, 2017. 92 p.The training manual is designed to assist in building capacity of community health workers (CHWs) in educating women and community members on relevant aspects of cervical cancer prevention. The manual aims to facilitate improvement in communication skills of CHWs for promoting uptake of cervical cancer screening services in the community. The primary intention of this manual is to assist CHWs in spreading community awareness on cervical cancer prevention and establishing linkage between the community and available screening services. The information and instructions included in the manual can be used by both the facilitators and CHWs while participating in the training. The manual contains nine different sessions to assist CHWs to be acquainted with different aspects of cervical cancer prevention at the community level with focus on improving their communication skills. Each session contains key information in ‘question and answer’ format written in simple language so that CHWs can comprehend the contents better. At the end of each session, there are group activities like role plays, group discussion and games for active learning. These are intended to give opportunity to CHWs to learn by interacting with each other and also relate themselves with their roles and responsibilities at the community level. The manual includes ‘notes to the facilitator’ on how to conduct various sessions as per the given session plan. A set of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ has been included to help the CHWs provide appropriate information to women and community members.
Cervical cancer screening and management of cervical pre-cancers. Trainees' handbook and facilitators' guide - Programme managers' manual.
New Delhi, India, WHO, Regional Office for South-East Asia, 2017. 145 p.The training manual for programme managers is designed to build the capacity of professionals in managerial positions to develop cervical cancer screening programmes, plan implementation strategies and effectively manage the programme at the national or sub national levels. The guidelines and information included in the manual are intended to be used both by trainees and facilitators while participating in the structured training programme for programme managers. The manual contains different modules to assist trainees to be acquainted with different aspects of planning, implementing and monitoring of cervical cancer screening services. Considering the fact that programme managers need to understand cervical cancer screening in the broader perspective of the national cancer control programme (NCCP), modules describing the planning and implementation of NCCP are also included in the manual. The modules include relevant case studies from real screening programmes in different countries. The manual includes notes to facilitators on how to conduct the various training sessions as per the session plan. The detailed methodology of conducting trainee evaluation is also part of this manual.
WHO recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience: Ultrasound examination. Highlights and key messages from the World Health Organization’s 2016 Global Recommendations.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2018 Jan. 4 p. (WHO/RHR/18.01; USAID Cooperative Agreement No. AID-OAA-A-14-00028)This brief highlights the WHO recommendation on routine antenatal ultrasound examination and the policy and program implications for translating this recommendation into action at the country level.
Paris, France, UNESCO, 2015. 47 p.Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) has attracted growing interest and attention over recent years. This is demonstrated and reinforced by increased political commitment globally and the development of expert guidance, standards, curricula and other tools to strengthen the implementation of CSE in practice. Across the world, there are a wide range of different approaches to delivering sexuality education; at this stage in the evolution of the field, it is timely to take stock of the evidence, practice and lessons learned to date. This report provides an overview of the status of CSE implementation and coverage on a global level, drawing on specific information about the status of CSE in 48 countries, generated through analysis of existing resources and studies. Best practice in terms of providing CSE continues to develop. The current report examines the evidence base for CSE and, through a series of case studies from every region, explores initiatives that are setting the standard and pioneering new practices in the delivery of CSE. It represents the first in a series of periodic reports that aims to monitor the global implementation of CSE. Comprehensive life skills-based sexuality education helps young people to gain the knowledge and skills to make conscious, healthy and respectful choices about relationships and sexuality.
Strengthening the capacity of community health workers to deliver care for sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health.
Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], 2015. 20 p.Government institutions, United Nations agencies, and global partners have been repositioning the role that community health workers (CHWs) can play in increasing access to essential quality health services in the context of national primary health care and universal health coverage. Given the growing momentum and interest in training CHWs, the United Nations health agencies (H4+) have developed this technical brief to orient country programme managers and global partners as to key elements for strengthening the capacity of CHWs, including health system and programmatic considerations, core competencies, and evidence-informed interventions for CHWs along the SR/MNCAH continuum of care. These key elements need to be adapted and contextualized by countries to reflect the structure, gaps, and opportunities of the national primary health care system, the interaction between the health sector with other sectors, and the specific roles and competencies that CHWs already have within that system. These key elements should also guide H4+ members and partners to take a joint and harmonized approach to supporting countries in their capacity-development efforts. Annex 1 lists SR/MNCAH interventions that CHWs can perform based on the best available evidence and existing WHO guidance.
Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, WHO, Regional Office for Africa, 2017. 23 p. (Policy Brief)Community health worker (CHW) programmes have seen a renaissance in the last two decades and now many countries in Africa boast of such national or substantial sub-national programmes. The 2013 Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health concluded that CHWs and other frontline primary health care workers “play a unique role and can be essential to accelerating MDGs and achieving UHC”, and called for their integration into national health systems. The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak of 2014-2015 highlighted the imperative of ensuring the functioning of the health systems at the community level for both their day-to-day resilience and disaster preparedness. The purpose of this policy brief is to inform discussions and decisions in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region on policies, strategies and programmes to increase access to primary health care (PHC) services and make progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) by expanding the implementation of scaled-up CHW programmes. This brief summarizes the existing evidence on CHW programmes with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and offers a number of context-linked policy options for countries seeking to scale up and improve the effectiveness of their CHW programmes, particularly with regard to needs such as those of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries that were the most affected by the 2014-2015 EVD outbreak. For the purposes of this policy brief, a broad definition of CHW is used. CHWs are individuals “carrying out the functions related to health care delivery [who are] trained in some way in the context of the intervention [but have] no formal professional or paraprofessional certificated or degreed tertiary education [in a health-related field]”). WHO states that CHWs “should be members of the communities where they work, selected by the communities, answerable to the communities for their activities, and supported by the health system but not necessarily a part of its organization”. For the purposes of this brief, a working definition for a scaled-up CHW programme has been developed, where the term refers to a programme that is designed to be more than a pilot or demonstration project and has the intention of covering a substantial population size or geographic area, depending on the country’s context. (Excerpts)
Expanding the evidence base for global recommendations on health systems: strengths and challenges of the OptimizeMNH guidance process.
Implementation Science. 2016 Jul 18; 11:98.BACKGROUND: In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) published recommendations on the use of optimization or "task-shifting" strategies for key, effective maternal and newborn interventions (the OptimizeMNH guidance). When making recommendations about complex health system interventions such as task-shifting, information about the feasibility and acceptability of interventions can be as important as information about their effectiveness. However, these issues are usually not addressed with the same rigour. This paper describes our use of several innovative strategies to broaden the range of evidence used to develop the OptimizeMNH guidance. In this guidance, we systematically included evidence regarding the acceptability and feasibility of relevant task-shifting interventions, primarily using qualitative evidence syntheses and multi-country case study syntheses; we used an approach to assess confidence in findings from qualitative evidence syntheses (the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation-Confidence in Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative Research (GRADE-CERQual) approach); we used a structured evidence-to-decision framework for health systems (the DECIDE framework) to help the guidance panel members move from the different types of evidence to recommendations. RESULTS: The systematic inclusion of a broader range of evidence, and the use of new guideline development tools, had a number of impacts. Firstly, this broader range of evidence provided relevant information about the feasibility and acceptability of interventions considered in the guidance as well as information about key implementation considerations. However, inclusion of this evidence required more time, resources and skills. Secondly, the GRADE-CERQual approach provided a method for indicating to panel members how much confidence they should place in the findings from the qualitative evidence syntheses and so helped panel members to use this qualitative evidence appropriately. Thirdly, the DECIDE framework gave us a structured format in which we could present a large and complex body of evidence to panel members and end users. The framework also prompted the panel to justify their recommendations, giving end users a record of how these decisions were made. CONCLUSIONS: By expanding the range of evidence assessed in a guideline process, we increase the amount of time and resources required. Nevertheless, the WHO has assessed the outputs of this process to be valuable and is currently repeating the approach used in OptimizeMNH in other guidance processes.
[The results of implementation of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development Loan Project "Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tuberculosis and AIDS", a "tuberculosis" component]
Tuberkulez I Bolezni Legkikh. 2010; (3):10-7.Due to the implementation of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan project "Prevention, diagnosis, treatment of tuberculosis and AIDS", a "Tuberculosis" component that is an addition to the national tuberculosis control program in 15 subjects of the Russian Federation, followed up by the Central Research Institute of Tuberculosis, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, the 2005-2008 measures stipulated by the Project have caused substantial changes in the organization of tuberculosis control: implementation of Orders Nos. 109, 50, and 690 and supervision of their implementation; modernization of the laboratories of the general medical network and antituberbulosis service (404 kits have been delivered for clinical diagnostic laboratories and 12 for bacteriological laboratories, including BACTEC 960 that has been provided in 6 areas); 91 training seminars have been held at the federal and regional levels; 1492 medical workers have been trained in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of patients with tuberculosis; 8 manuals and guidelines have been prepared and sent to all areas. In the period 2005-2008, the tuberculosis morbidity and mortality rates in the followed-up areas reduced by 1.2 and 18.6%, respectively. The analysis of patient cohorts in 2007 and 2005 revealed that the therapeutic efficiency evaluated from sputum smear microscopy increased by 16.3%; there were reductions in the proportion of patients having ineffective chemotherapy (from 16.1 to 11.1%), patients who died from tuberculosis (from 11.6 to 9.9%), and those who interrupted therapy ahead of time (from 11.8 to 7.8%). Implementation of the IBR project has contributed to the improvement of the national strategy and the enhancement of the efficiency of tuberculosis control.
Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2015. 32 p.The adolescent girl’s initiative (AGI) was motivated by the idea that vocational training and youth employment programs tailored to the needs of girls and young women can improve the economic empowerment and agency. By putting that idea into practice in a number of ways, the AGI pilots are making it possible to learn about the demand for such programs and whether in their current form they are a feasible and (in some cases) cost-effective means of meeting their objectives. Adolescent females in lower-income countries face a difficult environment in their path toward economic empowerment, a critical dimension of adulthood. Females, especially from low-income countries, want to participate in programs to support their economic empowerment. Effective programs shared certain features that made it possible for them to reach adolescent girls and young women and successfully assess and impart the skills that they needed.
Multistakeholder partnerships with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to improve childhood immunisation: a perspective from global health equity and political determinants of health equity.
Tropical Medicine and International Health. 2016 Aug; 21(8):965-972.Objective To examine the current partnerships to improve the childhood immunization programme in the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the context of the political determinants of health equity. Methods A literature search was conducted to identify public health collaborations with the DPRK government. Based on the amount of publicly accessible data and a shared approach in health system strengthening among the partners in immunization programmes, the search focused on these partnerships. results The efforts by WHO, UNICEF, GAVI and IVI with the DPRK government improved the delivery of childhood vaccines (e.g. pentavalent vaccines, inactivated polio vaccine, two-dose measles vaccine and Japanese encephalitis vaccine) and strengthened the DPRK health system by equipping health centers, and training all levels of public health personnel for VPD surveillance and immunization service delivery. Conclusion The VPD-focused programmatic activities in the DPRK have improved the delivery of childhood immunization and have created dialogue and contact with the people of the DPRK. These efforts are likely to ameliorate the political isolation of the people of the DPRK and potentially improve global health equity.
New York, New York, UNICEF, Program Division, Health Section, Knowledge Management and Implementation Research Unit, 2014 Jul.  p. (Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Working Paper)In addition to a comprehensive literature review, the study used a cross-sectional survey with close- and open-ended questions administered to UNICEF Country Offices and public sector key informants to investigate and map CHW characteristics and activities throughout the region. Responses were received from 20 of the 21 UNICEF Country Offices in the UNICEF East and Southern Africa region in May-June 20013. Data on 37 cadres from across the 20 countries made up of nearly 266,000 CHWs form the basis of this report. This report catalogues the types and characteristics of CHWs, their relationship to the broader health system, the health services they provide and geographic coverage of their work.
The effectiveness of the WHO training course on complementary feeding counseling in a primary care setting, Ismailia, Egypt.
Journal of the Egyptian Public Health Association. 2014 Apr; 89(1):1-8.BACKGROUND: The adequacy and timing of complementary feeding of the breastfed child are critical for optimal child growth and development.Considerable efforts have been made to improve complementary feeding in the first 2 years of life. One of them was the WHO complementary feeding counseling course (CFC). OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effectiveness of the WHO CFC on knowledge and counseling abilities of primary healthcare physicians; on caretaker's knowledge and adherence to physicians' recommendations and their feeding practices; and on children's growth. PARTICIPANTS AND INTERVENTIONS: A single-blinded randomized-controlled study was carried out in 40 primary healthcare centers divided into matched pairs according to their location, either in rural or urban areas, and training of the selected physicians on integrated management of childhood illness. One center from each pair was selected randomly for its physician to receive CFC training in nutrition counseling and the matched center was selected as a control. Forty primary healthcare center physicians and 480 mother-child (6-18 months) pairs were included in the study. The mother-child pairs recruited were visited at home within 2 weeks, 90, and 180 days after the initial consultation with trained health workers. Special questionnaires were used to collect information on healthcare providers' knowledge of nutrition counseling and practice (counseling skills); maternal knowledge of basic nutrition-counseling recommendations, maternal compliance with the recommended feeding practice; child dietary intake; and gains in weight and length. RESULTS: CFC-trained physicians were more likely to engage in nutrition counseling and to deliver more appropriate advice. This was reflected in improvements in maternal recall of complementary feeding messages, which were higher in the intervention group compared with the control group. Six months after the consultation, children in the intervention group had significantly greater weight gains compared with the control group (0.96 vs. 0.78 kg; P=0.038). Children in the intervention group, who were 12-18 months of age at the time of recruitment, had significantly less faltering in length gain compared with the control group (height/age Z-score; 0.23 vs. 0.04; P=0.004). CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Nutrition counseling training improved counseling abilities of primary healthcare physicians and led to improvements in mothers' knowledge and practices of complementary feeding. In turn, this led to improved growth of children. We recommend wide and regular utilization of the CFC course to improve the knowledge and skills of health workers who provide counseling to mothers for complementary feeding.
Paediatrics and International Child Health. 2013 Feb; 33(1):4-17.BACKGROUND: Studies in the last decade have identified major deficiencies in the care of seriously ill children in hospitals in developing countries. Effective implementation of clinical guidelines is an important strategy for improving quality of care. In 2005 the World Health Organization produced the Pocket Book of Hospital Care for Children - Guidelines for Management of Common Childhood Illnesses in Rural and District Hospitals with Limited Resources. OBJECTIVE: To determine the worldwide distribution, uptake and use of the WHO Pocket Book of Hospital Care for Children. METHODS: A systematic online and postal survey was conducted to assess coverage and uptake of the Pocket Book in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). More than 1000 key stakeholders with varied roles and responsibilities for child health in 194 countries were invited to participate. Indicators used to measure implementation of the guidelines included local adaptation, use as standard treatment and incorporation into undergraduate and postgraduate training. RESULTS: Information was gathered from 354 respondents representing 134 countries; these included 98 LMICs and 50 countries with under-5 childhood mortality rates >40 deaths/1000 live births. Sixty-four LMICs (44% of 145 LMICs worldwide) including 42 high-mortality countries (66% of 64 high-mortality countries worldwide) reported at least partial implementation of the Pocket Book. However, uptake remains fragmented within countries. CONCLUSION: More than half of all LMICs with high rates of child mortality have reported use and substantial implementation activities, a considerable achievement given minimal resources available for implementation. Improving the accessibility of the Pocket Book and its implementation tools to health workers, and developing a strategic approach to implementation in each country could improve quality of hospital care for children and support efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal 4 targets.
UNICEF Training Package for Scaling Up Skilled Community Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselors: Zimbabwe Experience.
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2015 May-Jun; 47(3):286-9.Add to my documents.
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2014 Sep; 121 Suppl 4:11-4.In the World Health Organization (WHO) European region despite official high coverage of essential interventions for maternal and neonatal care, there are still significant gaps in the delivery of effective interventions. Since 2001, WHO designed and implemented the Making Pregnancy Safer programme, which includes hands-on training courses in effective perinatal care for maternity teams, development of clinical guidelines, maternal mortality and morbidity case reviews, and assessments of quality of care. This has contributed to enhancing capacity at country level to improve organisation and provision of care. This paper describes the programme's components, challenges, achievements and results. (c) 2014 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Integrating poverty and gender into health programmes: a sourcebook for health professionals. Module on HIV / AIDS.
[Manila, Philippines], World Health Organization [WHO], Regional Office for the Western Pacific, 2008.  p.This module is designed to improve the awareness, knowledge and skills of health professionals on poverty and gender concerns in the field of HIV / AIDS. Experience increasingly shows that the socioeconomic factors contributing to the rapid spread of HIV in the Region include low education, limited access to health care services and increased mobility within and between countries -- factors that are largely determined by poverty and gender inequality. The growing commitment to curbing the HIV / AIDS epidemic requires that health professionals at community, provincial, national and international levels have the knowledge, skills and tools to more effectively respond to the health needs of poor and marginalized people and address the gender inequalities fuelling the epidemic. However, many health professionals in the Region are not adequately prepared to address these issues. This module is designed to help fill this gap.
Entre Nous. 2009; (68):24-25.Romania is a very special case when it comes to reproductive health in the modern world. After 30 years of a prohibitive society that denied couples and women the right to family planning, as a result of the political changes in December 1989 women in Romania have regained the fundamental right to freely decide the number of desired children, as well as the timing and spacing of births. Decree Law No. 1/ 1989, which promoted total abortion liberalization was the first resolution passed after the political changes in 1989 and it can be considered the symbolic foundation of family planning (FP) in Romania.
[London, United Kingdom], Partnership for Child Development [PCD], 2009 Sep. 80 p.This document describes a review of HIV and AIDS indicators for the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team on Education. The goal of the review was to help develop user-friendly guidance to measure the coverage, outcomes, and impact of education programs on HIV and AIDS in low-income countries.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2009. 7 p. (WHO/FCH/CAH/09.02)This new statement provides critical new guidance to governments, USAID missions, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other development partners on prevention and management approaches that can be delivered through home visits in the baby’s first week of life. Of the estimated 8.8 million children under 5 that die each year – 3.7 million are newborn infants who die within the first four weeks after birth. Up to two-thirds of these deaths can be prevented through existing effective interventions delivered during pregnancy, childbirth and in the first hours, days and week after birth. A growing body of knowledge has shown that home visits by appropriately trained workers to provide newborn care can significantly reduce neonatal mortality even where health systems are weak. WHO and UNICEF therefore recommend home visits for the care of the newborn child in the first week of life (within 24 hours, on the third day and, if possible, on the seventh day of life) as a complementary strategy to facility-based postnatal care in order to improve newborn survival.
[Geneva, Switzerland], WHO, 2009. 8 p.This report shows how countries with low prevalence of male circumcision but high prevalence of HIV have made progress to scale up male circumcision services.
Country experiences in the scale-up of male circumcision in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region: Two years and counting. A sub-regional consultation, Windhoek, Namibia, June 9-10 2009.
[Unpublished] 2009. 24 p.This report on a sub-regional consultation held in Windhoek, Namibia, 9-10 July 2009 summarises progress reports, lessons from programme experience, and priorities for the next year from nine countries.
Ambulatory Pediatrics. 2008 Sep-Oct; 8(5):300-304.Background.-Ninety-nine percent of the 4 million neonatal deaths per year occur in developing countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) Essential Newborn Care (ENC) course sets the minimum accepted standard for training midwives on aspects of infant care (neonatal resuscitation, breastfeeding, kangaroo care, small baby care, and thermoregulation), many of which are provided by the mother. Objective.-The aim of this study was to determine the association of ENC with all-cause 7-day (early) neonatal mortality among infants of less educated mothers compared with those of mothers with more education. Methods.-Protocol- and ENC-certified research nurses trained all 123 college-educated midwives from 18 low-risk, first-level urban community health centers (Zambia) in data collection (1 week) and ENC (1 week) as part of a controlled study to test the clinical impact of ENC implementation. The mothers were categorized into 2 groups, those who had completed 7 years of school education (primary education) and those with 8 or more years of education. Results.-ENC training is associated with decreases in early neonatal mortality; rates decreased from 11.2 per 1000 live births pre- ENC to 6.2 per 1000 following ENC implementation (P <.001). Prenatal care, birth weight, race, and gender did not differ between the groups. Mortality for infants of mothers with 7 years of education decreased from 12.4 to 6.0 per 1000 (P < .0001) but did not change significantly for those with 8 or more years of education (8.7 to 6.3 per 1000, P ¼.14). Conclusions.-ENC training decreases early neonatal mortality, and the impact is larger in infants of mothers without secondary education. The impact of ENC may be optimized by training health care workers who treat women with less formal education.
Medical Teacher. 2009 Apr; 31(4):e169-76.BACKGROUND: Poor public health indicators in Tanzania have led to the upgrading of nursing and clinical personnel who currently have just core training. Clinical officers (COs) have 3 years training in basic and applied medicine and are responsible for healthcare of large and dispersed rural populations. AIMS: UNESCO-Wales has funded colleagues in Wales (UK) to assist the upgrade of COs. An inquiry into their learning needs and the Tanzanian context has produced a framework for design of a module for COs on sexually transmissible infections and HIV & AIDS by distance learning. METHODS: Face-to-face discussions were held with the Ministry of Health, healthcare workers, educators and administrators in Tanzania; a review of training documents was carried out; and a follow-up questionnaire issued to COs. RESULTS: The discussions and review highlighted teacher-centred approaches, and management, infrastructure and resources obstacles to curriculum change. Principal learning needs of COs around STIs were: counselling, syndromic management, drugs management, laboratory diagnosis, health education, resources, staffing and service morale. CONCLUSIONS: Placing learning needs in context in dialogue with Tanzanian colleagues was an advance on simple transfer of educational technologies and expertise. The inquiry resulted in a draft study guide and resources pack that were positively reviewed by Tanzanian tutors. Management and resources issues raised problems of sustainability in the module implementation.
Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. 2008 Sep-Oct; 19(5):335-7.The U.S.-Mexico Border region, which includes some of the poorest counties in the country, has large rural populations with health care service shortages leading to poorer health outcomes than in the rest of the country (United States-Mexico Border Health Commission, 2008). In combination with these factors, an increase in the number of HIV cases along the border led to a request from the Health Resources and Services Administration for a collaborative effort to systematically assess the education and capacity building needs of health care providers in this region. The three AETCs geographically located along the border (Pacific AETC [California, Arizona], Mountain- Plains AETC [New Mexico], and Texas/Oklahoma AETC [Texas]) interviewed more than 75 border clinicians to determine their unique HIV-related education needs. Four broad training-related needs emerged: (a) to increase integration and coordination of HIV training activities, (b) to expand HIV training beyond AETC-targeted providers, (c) to offer site-based trainings that include cultural sensitivity themes and incentives for participation, and (d) to maintain a binational perspective by including Mexican clinicians in training activities. (excerpt)
The level of Internet access and ICT training for health information professionals in sub-Saharan Africa.
Health Information and Libraries Journal. 2008 Sep; 25(3):175-85.BACKGROUND: Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are important tools for development. Despite its significant growth on a global scale, Internet access is limited in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Few studies have explored Internet access, use of electronic resources and ICT training among health information professionals in Africa. OBJECTIVE: The study assessed Internet access, use of electronic resources and ICT training among health information professionals in SSA. METHODS: A 26-item self-administered questionnaire in English and French was used for data collection. The questionnaire was completed by health information professionals from five Listservs and delegates at the 10th biannual Congress of the Association of Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA). RESULTS: A total of 121 respondents participated in the study and, of those, 68% lived in their countries' capital. The majority (85.1%) had Internet access at work and 40.8% used cybercafes as alternative access points. Slightly less than two-thirds (61.2%) first learned to use ICT through self-teaching, whilst 70.2% had not received any formal training in the previous year. Eighty-eight per cent of respondents required further ICT training. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: In SSA, freely available digital information resources are underutilized by health information professionals. ICT training is recommended to optimize use of digital resources. To harness these resources, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations must play a key role.