If you can't take Mohammad to the education...

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...bring the education to him. And in as low-tech a way as possible, since he doesn't have Internet—or even library—access. That's the idea behind the Blue Trunk Library, a project designed to provide continuing healthcare education to workers in developing countries. From the article on PLoS Medicine:


    The idea of creating the BTL collection stemmed from the conclusions of a joint survey conducted by the ministry of health and the WHO country office in Guinea to define the continuing education needs for health workers based in the health districts. The survey found that these workers needed to broaden their skills. Therefore, the WHO library was asked to compile a collection of appropriate books to suit the different education needs of health district workers at various professional levels. The WHO library in Geneva started the BTL project in 1998. Guinea was the first country to benefit from this prototype [3], which was then extended to other African countries before being taken up in developing countries in other parts of the world. There are English and French versions of the BTL.


    The BTL is “a ready-to-use documentation module” [4] of about 150 WHO and non-WHO books and manuals fitted into a blue metal trunk (Figure 1). The materials are arranged and filed in such a way that users can easily identify the ones that they need. Fourteen topics have been chosen using a basic classification code, e.g., General Medicine and Nursing (100), Community Health (110), and these codes are written on each filing box.



The article says that training sessions have been organized in 14 countries, including Burundi, Guinea, Ethiopia, Republic of Congo, Mauritania, and Mali. While there still are language-related problems—it's more difficult to find appropriate texts in some languages than others—this is a good way to try to improve healthcare in difficult areas by providing training any way they can.

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