Date of this Version
Library Philosophy and Practice 2011
Library in any community is regarded as an information base centre for storage and retrieval of vital information which could be used for community development and national planning. The library is the gateway to information (Anasi, 2010). It is a place where information is acquired, processed, repackaged, preserved and disseminated. Every community (country) aims at improving the health of its citizens and plan outreach annually (Ogunbode, 2004). This objective would be better achieved where libraries are seen as effective tools for understanding the health status of rural communities in Nigeria. Librarians are meant to partner with community health workers to record and store health information on common prevalent disease conditions in our rural communities, such as malaria, measles, dracunculiasis (guinea worm), dysentery, poliomyelitis, tetanus, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS etc. Health status measures that relate to these conditions are especially valuable tools for identification of problem and evaluation of intervention programmes. Public access to health information is paramount to the developing nations in Africa e.g. Nigeria where communities are ravaged with daunting health problems. Health messages even at government level are often confused and unreliable (Godbolt et al., 2010). Indeed on health issues at all levels, from the point of care through to policy level, communities lack access to reliable and appropriate health information and are often unable to make informed health decisions for themselves or those they care for, hence the resultant poor health status of most rural communities in Nigeria today. When libraries have adequate information on the health status of our rural communities vis a¢ vis prevalent disease conditions in such areas, the federal government through the ministry of health and other health agencies (WHO, Red cross) would be in a better position to assist such communities through provision of drugs and vaccines, building of hospitals and health centres, provision of portable water supply, etc. All these would no doubt create better atmosphere for better and reliable health status of our rural communities. This paper therefore tries to justify the library as effective tool for understanding the health status of rural communities in Nigeria.