Information needs and sources of health professionals in Malawi

29 August, 2023

This paper is highly relevant to HIFA but it is unfortunately behind a paywall so many of us will not be able to read it. For such papers, it would be helpful if authors could place the paper in an open-access repository (most journals allow a form of this, although only some allow the final version).

CITATION: Health Info Libr J. 2023 Aug 22. doi: 10.1111/hir.12507. Online ahead of print.

Information needs and sources of health professionals in Malawi.

Gama LC(1), Chawinga WD(2), Chipeta GT(1).

BACKGROUND: Health professionals require up-to-date information in their pursuit of evidence-based practice in health care. There is a plethora of literature on information behaviour of different user groups across disciplines in Malawi with little evidence on health professionals. OBJECTIVES: The study investigated the information behaviour of health professionals at one of the three biggest hospitals in Malawi. METHODS: A descriptive survey design was used. Ninety-four health professionals participated in the study. SPSS was used for descriptive analysis to generate frequencies and percentages. RESULTS: Personal and professional development constituted the major information need among all the health professionals. Health professionals used books and colleagues as sources of information, but many preferred to use websites, rather than print resources. The challenges that affected their information behaviour included, inadequate information resources, limited access to the internet and e-databases, and lack of information literacy skills. DISCUSSION: The study revealed various information needs of health professionals and their preferred information sources. Health professionals need adequate library and information services with both print and digital resources and support from information professionals. Nevertheless, use of the hospital library was very low among health professionals. CONCLUSION: Health professionals at MCH continue to face various challenges that hinder access and efficient use of information resources.

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: