Issue 75 (Spring 2002)

Spring 2002, Issue #75

Table of Contents

The APLIC-International Communicatoris published several times yearly by the Association for Population and Family Planning Libraries and Information Centers, International. Mailing address: c/o Family Health International Library, P.O. Box 13950, RTP, NC 27709 USA. ISSN 09-9847Editors:
Yan Fu, Librarian, University of Michigan Population Studies Center, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248. Phone: 734-998-6277; Fax: (734) 998-7415; E-mail:
Sheila Proudman, Director of Information Services, Hopkins Population Center, Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe Street, Rm 4027, Baltimore, MD 21205. Tel: (410) 955-780; Fax (410) 955-0792; E-mail:

UN Population Fund and The Development Gateway Launch Portal on Population and Reproductive HealthNew Internet Initiative to Strengthen Knowledge Sharing and Exchange

UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK, 29 April 2002 – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Development Gateway Foundation today announced the launch of the POP/RH Portal, an Internet initiative focusing on population and reproductive health. The Portal will provide a community built database of shared population information, including data, research, projects, ideas and dialogue. It will also seek to promote innovative knowledge-sharing arrangements among expert organizations in the field.The POP/RH Portal is being built in collaboration with 12 partner institutions from the population community, linking it to resources on their websites and to those of other population and development organizations. It covers the key topics and actions identified in both the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) convened in Cairo in 1994 and the 1999 United Nations General Assembly special session which reviewed implementation of the ICPD.

With the launch of the POP/RH Portal, the UNFPA becomes the first United Nations agency to establish a topical website within the Development Gateway system. UNFPA will manage and “guide” the Portal with technical support from the Development Gateway team.

Notable features include a news service; a bulletin board; an events calendar; several search features; population/reproductive health project information from a shared database that includes activities by donor agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development, the World Bank and the UNFPA; and a discussion forum on reproductive health and population topics. Visitors to the website are able to sign up for free membership, which entitles them to receive regular updates on new resources that are added.

“UNFPA is very pleased to be working in partnership with the Development Gateway on this important knowledge-sharing initiative,” said Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director, UNFPA. “We see the POP/RH Portal as a great way to connect people with the knowledge they need.”

“Improved knowledge sharing and networking in the population and reproductive health fields can make a critical contribution to human development and poverty reduction in the developing world,” said Carlos Braga, Senior Manager of the Informatics Program at the World Bank and head of the Bank’s Development Gateway Portal team.

“The POP/RH Portal will help leverage information and communication technologies for improved information sharing and networking in this critical area, and we are delighted to be cooperating with the UN Population Fund in this important effort,” he said.

Organizations cooperating in the POP/RH Portal include the Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AMDD) Program, Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University; Family Health International; the International Planned Parenthood Federation; Ipas; the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs; PATH; Reproductive Health Outlook; and the Population Reference Bureau.

Others are the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Population Activities Unit; the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean/CELADE; the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Population and Rural and Urban Development Division, Population Information and Communication Unit; and the UNESCO Bangkok Population Education Clearinghouse and Adolescent Reproductive Health website.

The UNFPA is the world’s largest multilateral source of population assistance. Since it became operational in 1969, it has provided about US$5.6 billion in assistance to developing countries. The United Nations General Assembly has welcomed the positive contributions the Fund has made since then in improving the quality of human life.

The Development Gateway Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization built on public-private partnerships, launched initially with support from the World Bank. Its broad mission is to promote the use of information and communication technologies for poverty reduction and sustainable development, and help overcome the “digital divide” in practical and dynamic ways. The Development Gateway Portal seeks to facilitate access to information and knowledge on development and poverty reduction, and provides a space where people can share experiences on development.

Contact: Susan Pasquariella, UNFPA
Tel. (212) 297-4968

Beyond POPLINE: Teaching third world women to use computer power – Jean Sack

Opportunities exist for all of the APLIC-I members to mentor their staff and international colleagues in “the cyber tools of our trade.” But we may not have taken advantage of frequent interactions with visiting colleagues to pass on tips for their use once they return to their home countries. At Johns Hopkins School of Public Health one of my favorite evening activities was tutoring international graduate students to become more successful in research papers and dissertation searches. Occasionally I can do that volunteer activity here in Dhaka with our ICDDR,B trainees and staff or Bangladeshi librarians from other health agencies. Too often an agency will have computers and even web connections but never use them for informed decision-making or even allow staff access to the health treasures on the web.We in APLIC-I should be sharing IT training successes so that when we or our staff travel to developing countries, we can take advantage of the time before tea in offices, or a break in sessions at a conference to demonstrate new tools. Peggy D’Adamo has recently traveled out to North Africa to offer computer-based tutorials. The POPIN-APLIC Electronic Resource Guides on our APLIC-I are a good starting point for NGOs working in these fields, based on Susan’s incredible experience working with POPIN. The wide array of full-text journals and manuals on the web provide many opportunities to provide visitors with the information they need for their projects. POPLINE is a starting point for a wider net experience.

Here in Dhaka, women’s health is a starting point for all of my “Ladies’ e-Office Technology” web tutorials. Bangladeshi women are seldom allowed to discuss their ailments with physicians and reproductive health information is not readily available in Bengali. However, Medline Plus now has a wide array of illustrated and lower readability materials on topics that have been of high interest to the middle aged, middle class women in my computer classes in Dhaka: breast or ovarian cancer and treatments; vaginosis; hormone replacement; pregnancy and delivery; fistulas; contraceptives; high blood pressure; side effects from commonly prescribed drugs. During our modules on efficient use of e-mail, these women share website addresses with their female relatives. They feel empowered and are generous to share their discoveries and beyond our classroom. When I train these women, their influential husbands or families will often get that same training at home. When I see one of my students teaching others, she has learned well!

During PowerPoint instruction in my ladies-only course, I show women how they can import pictures from websites (giving the URL citation) with relabeled content that works for Bangladeshi English speakers. Of course, this is already done for health professionals on the CDC and JHPIEGO sites with the intention of creating teaching materials acceptable for different cultures and languages. My hope is that these socially active women will leave my classes equipped to create newsletters, presentations at Club meetings, and have empowering conversations with their extended families. I use these IT opportunities to focus on reproductive health as way of raising expectations of better health care futures for the women of Bangladesh. The sharing that easily occurs between women in purdah can be implemented with IT.

This year, many other computer training schools are offering special courses for women only. I am hoping that NGOs and health agencies in this country will catch on and offer computer health-based courses as well.

Sierre Leone housewife/mother,
UNWA club member, Fatima’s husband is a UNICEF adminstrator
Businesswoman and widow, Halima whose father was the 1950’s president of Pakistan

Jean C. Sack – Medical Informatics Consultant
GPO Box 128, Dhaka 1000 Bangladesh
Jean Sack is a part-time IT instructor at a private business in Dhaka

Annual Meeting in Atlanta

APLIC-I vice president Margie Shiels has put together an exciting program for the upcoming annual meeting from May 6-8 at Atlanta. This year’s theme is “The Young & the Rest of Us: Finding Information on Special Populations”. Come to Atlanta to find new information about the adolescent reproductive health, learn more about CDC and to meet your colleagues. See detailed program at

APLIC-I Board of Directors Fall 2001 Meeting

APLIC-I Board of Directors Fall 2001 meeting was hosted by IPAS and FHI at Chapel Hill and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina on October 25 and 26. The following directors attended the meeting: Bill Barrows , John Carlson , Julia Cleaver, Peggy D’Adamo, Judy Dye, Yan Fu, Anil Kumar, Zuali Malsawma, Margie Shiels and Kay Willson. Meeting minutes are available at

Special Libraries Association Conference

Special Libraries Association’s 93rd Annual Conference will be held June 8-13, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA. Early bird registration expires on May 1. Conference website is at

Internet Resources

ARSH Resources

UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education sent out this announcement just in time for our annual conference. Full text electronic articles on Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH) can be found with the above link. Topics include Contraceptives for Adolescents, Adolescent Reproductive Health Policies, Laws and Rights, Needs Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluating ARSH Programmes and Activities.


HealthWeb is a collaborative project of the health sciences librarians and information professionals at more than 20 leading academic medical centers in the Midwest, including the Mayo Clinic, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The project is supported by the National Library of Medicine. Visitors can choose from more than 60 subjects, including AIDS/HIV, Rural Health, Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine. Librarians will find Reference Resources helpful. Categories include Associations & Foundations, Dictionaries, Directories, Publication Aids and Statistics. You can find reference books such as Physician’s Desk Reference, ICD-9 CM and the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy.

Recommended Readings – Yan Fu & Jean Sack

The following link is to an article published in 1996 which I find relevant today. “Competencies for Special Librarians of the 21st Century” was prepared for the SLA Board by the Special Committee on Competencies for Special Librarians. According to the document, special librarians are essential in the information age. Special librarians require two main types of competencies to fulfil their roles. Enjoy reading the professional and personal competencies outlined in the article. (Yan Fu)

The death of a study patient at Johns Hopkins inspired a good Lancet article about the historic OLDMEDLINE and the importance of accessing it. It is separate from PUBMED right now and needs a library lobby effort to support Sheldon Kotzin’s desire to make OLDMEDLINE accessible through PUBMED. Find the article “1966 and all that–when is a literature search done?” in The Lancet: vol. 358 August 25, 2001. (Jean Sack)