Many thanks to Fiona and Neil for this important BMJ Editorial, [ www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m759.full ]
I think there's a global gradual increase in awareness surrounding timely access to quality health information by all that need it (including healthcare professionals, family caregivers and researchers) which has been highlighted by the recent coronavirus outbreak. This outbreak has also highlighted issues of misinformation, the role of social media in the dissemination of information, and the need to provide quality information given pressures of time and limited resources.
We, HIFA members and supporting organizations, need to make the most of the opportunities this presents and keep up the momentum.
The forum provides a unique platform for members and organizations to build collaborations and keep each other informed about relevant initiatives - perhaps developing collaborative papers or setting up new initiatives. We need to make sure that funders and policymakers are aware of the issues involved and that access to health information does not fall into a research/funding gap. Journals such as the BMJ and the Lancet also have an important part to play in keeping up this momentum.
Now, more than ever, we are seeing the potential role that HIFA and its members can play in improving access to health information.
Time to remember that "Together, we can stop people dying from a lack of timely accurate healthcare information"
HIFA profile: Julie N Reza is a UK-based specialist in communications for biosciences, global health & international development (www.globalbiomedia.co.uk). 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. www.hifa.org/people/steering-group
Email: naimareza AT hotmail.com