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WHO provides low-cost access to health journals for poor countries

WHO provides low-cost access to health journals for poor countries

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that its ongoing partnership with the international publishing community has provided 43 new countries low-cost online access to health journals.

These countries - all with a per capita gross national product (GNP) of between $1,000 and $1,500 - will pay just $1,000 a year for online access to 2,200 high-quality medical journals through the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI), according to WHO. The 28 participating publishers are contributing the fees collected to a fund to train librarians and researchers in ways to harness the benefits of the information revolution. The new countries join the 69 low-income countries with a GNP per capita below $1,000 whose hospitals, medical schools and research institutions are already participating at no cost.

"The knowledge gap between rich and poor must be overcome if we are to reduce poverty," said Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO Director-General. "In HINARI lies the seed of a knowledge revolution." The information made available through HINARI will help developing countries in improving skills, developing research, and by extension, to save lives, she added.

HINARI has been developed by WHO and its publisher partners to support the health sector in developing countries by enabling access to high quality, timely, relevant scientific information at affordable prices. It builds on recent developments in academic publishing and library services, particularly the shift from print to electronic journal publishing. HINARI has evolved under the umbrella of the Health InterNetwork, a WHO-led public-private partnership initiated by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as part of his Millennium Agenda to narrow the digital divide.