Does the coronavirus outbreak highlight the importance of timely access to quality health information? What role can HIFA & its members play? (3)

19 February, 2020

Excellent points Neil and I totally agree. [ In my opinion the situation with Covid-19 coronavirus has certainly highlighted the importance of timely access to quality health information.

You're quite right to highlight the information needs of policymakers as well - thanks.

The idea of HIFA Projects on the information needs of different audiences is one I support, but I agree that lack of funds and manpower limits what HIFA can do. I would request that our HIFA members and supporting organisations consider what they can do to support HIFA's efforts.

Regarding ""What role can HIFA play?" - I agree again.

Perhaps you or other members can also remind me - following a previous disease outbreak (?MERS ?SARS) I vaguely recall medical journals allowing greater access to related articles (I've forgotten what they did - perhaps removed paywalls?) Do you know if any similar agreement has been made for Covid-19, and if not, is there a case for HIFA (members) to campaign for this? [*see note below]

Best wishes


HIFA profile: Julie N Reza is a UK-based specialist in communications for biosciences, global health & international development ( She predominantly works with NGOs and not-for-profit organisations. Previously she was the senior science editor at TDR, based at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva; prior to this she worked at the Wellcome Trust, UK, leading educational projects on international health topics including trypanosomiasis and trachoma. She has a PhD in immunology and a specialist degree in science communication. She also has several years research and postgraduate teaching experience. She is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and HIFA Social Media Working Group.

Email: naimareza AT

[*Note from HIFA moderator (Neil PW): Thanks Julie. Yes, The Lancet, The BMJ and others have made research on coronavirus available free of charge. Last night on a Tweetchat with Caroline De Brun and #ukmedlibs, I learned that Public Health England is compiling a useful directory of resources (which includes journal collections) here: The first stop for information globally is the WHO website: ]