Date of this Version
Nigeria, as a country is still at the implementation stage of attaining the MDGs because of her slow developmental process and political instability, which has been a bane to achieving any set target aimed at improving the lives of her citizenry. The area of health related issues are included, maternal and child mortality has plagued the country through time. Lately, government and stakeholders are discussing development of health policies, establishment of health centres, and setting up information management centres on health for some hospitals in the country. However, Public libraries have been overlooked in this regard. Undermining the role of the public libraries in the community, they are not considered when decisions are made which cannot survive without the provision of information in that respect. Therefore, the role of public libraries in the attainment of MDGs health issues becomes a daunting task for these institutions.
The non-inclusion (nation’s developmental processes) of Libraries, especially public Libraries, where users of all categories can have access to up to date information is another challenge retarding the attainment of MDGs in Nigeria. As a result, the public library who is always updated and provides different categories of information are making less effort because of they believe that they have less significant role to play in achieving the health-focus of the MDGs. No programme can succeed without information, and the public library is the custodian of information, hence, it is expected that all forms of information are to be available in the library for users.
The provision of information by Public libraries on the state of the health and its interactions is critical in helping decision makers develop sound policies that can ensure health related sustainability. In order for different sectors of society to appreciate and mitigate possible MDGs health impacts, access to reliable maternal health, child mortality and HIV/AIDS information is vital (Godfrey and Benson, 2008). Libraries are playing a role in ensuring Millennium Development Goals Health attainment. They provide information and related initiatives that for users’ utilization. MDGs therefore, serve as the new framework for sustainable development by setting social equity goals and targets that aim at contributing to economic development. Libraries are expected therefore, to play an active in achieving these targets.
Book and non-book materials in the Public libraries are important in helping the users. According to the International Federation of Library Association (IFLA) Committee on Library work with children; I967, quoted in Aguolu and Aguolu, (2002), Books are essential in the life and development of the child. They are a stimulus to his intelligence and imagination, an incentive to independent thinking and a source to information and enjoyment. Books are indispensable tools in education and a child who has learnt to use and enjoy them is better able to continue his studies when he leaves school. It is in childhood that the use and enjoyment of books should be learnt.
According to Abba Iya (2007), libraries facilitate in reducing HIV/AIDS and malaria fever through the provision of such materials like, the newspapers that give or announce opportunities of campaigns and immunization, place of study, health organizations that give health services. Through orientation and acquisition of materials on HIV/AIDS and other social disease, Public libraries provide and intimate its users, (youths in particular) on their causes, symptoms, prevention and control. illiterates also beneﬁt from these facilities or services thorough documentary ﬁlms (usually translated into local language, posters, illustrations that depicts important aspects of these diseases, benefits of education and continuing education and healthcare delivery.
Tise (2007) asserted that libraries have access to expertise – personnel that have the training to retrieve information and to package that information in a format that is easily adopted by the information seeker. Further, libraries have the infrastructure (within its environmental context) to acquire, process and make available information (books/journals). This imminent and potential resource puts the library in strategic role towards the health Millennium Development Goals. Major findings related to relaxing service constraints in public libraries and reveals that the resources available for improving service to library patrons. Most libraries face severe budget constraints and sometimes suffer neglects in most developing countries like Nigeria. The library survey showed that for most libraries, their highest budgetary priorities did not specifically include a focus on providing resources and information for health information and service development.