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Obtaining Reliable Medical Information Online: A Study Focusing on Francophone Africa

Annual Call for Projects 2006


Access to good quality health information is a key component of any health system. With the emergence of information and communication technologies, new tools have become available to facilitate the compilation, publication and access to such data. However, these new tools also present new challenges. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly difficult to gauge the reliability of health information on the web. In addition, the fact that there exists a variety of data must be acknowledged and encouraged.

It is at present not clear whether the techniques used to compile medical data on line are effective and whether the criteria used to assess the data’s reliability are applicable in all cases. In fact, local adaptations will probably be needed to account for the wide variety of social, economic and cultural contexts in which the data are used.

In this project, supported by the Geneva International Academic Network (GIAN), complementary initiatives are being undertaken in order to draft recommendations for the compilation and evaluation of on-line medical data that take into account socio-cultural and economic factors. Information drawn up in accordance with those recommendations should be eligible for inclusion in the Global Health Library (GHL) project of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and be certified by the Health on the Net (HON) Foundation.

The GHL aims to provide access to reliable health information on a virtual platform that assembles multiple resources and points specific user groups (health ministries, health practitioners, information providers, patients, the general public) to content according to their needs.

The HON Foundation, for its part, has spent the past ten years developing best practice rules for the publication of reliable medical information on the web, in particular the HONcode, and the tools enabling interested parties to access them. Active mainly in developed countries where it has over 5,000 certified medical sites in 72 countries, the HON Foundation has decided to expand its work to developing countries by...

The grant provided by the GIAN for this project totals SFr 234,000

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Project Team

Ms Celia Boyer , Principal Member, Health on the Net Foundation (HON) .

Dr. Yvan Droz , Principal Member, Graduate Institute of Development Studies (GIDS) .

Dr. Ousmane Ly , Principal Member, Health on the Net Foundation (HON) .

Mr Ian Roberts , Principal Member, World Health Organization (WHO) .

Dr. Younoussa Touré , Principal Member, University of Bamako .

Related Links

> Health On the Net Foundation

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Obtaining Reliable Medical Information Online: A Study Focusing on Francophone Africa – Round Table, IUED, 18 September, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
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