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Health Information Resources for Developing Countries: Finding Articles / Books

Information about providing health related resources to support clinical, research or educational programs in developing countries or resource-poor settings. Audience: University of Washington faculty, staff and students.


  • Some indexes are funded by governments, agencies or non-profit groups and are freely available.
  • Many indexes are commercial products and libraries have licenses to use them.  Some developing countries may quality for free use, others must pay for access although in resource poor settings the price may be reduced.
  • Each index is unique and users need training in order to use them effectively.  This training may be available online.
  • Many institutions have online catalogs (OPACs) that allow users to identify useful resources, which might be available locally or via document delivery.  Sometimes they provide links to free resources.
  • Most OPACs include journal titles, but do not index individual issues.  Often they include grey literature, including government reports.
  • Grey literature and links to online versions often may be found using Google.


Selected List of Indexes

Research4Life provides access to a number of indexes in the fields of health, agriculture & the environment.  You need to go to each of the sites and pull down the Databases/Indexes windows to see all the choices, for example Environment Index,  Food Science and Technology Abstracts, Web of Knowledge Special Edition. Some of indexes, e.g., PubMed via Hinari, link directly to the eMaterials available within each country at registered institutions.  Libraries/institutions in countries not eligible for Hinari should contact the sales representatives for their country as prices may be negotiable.

  • AGORA (Agriculture)  registration/login required.
  • HINARI CINAHL (Nursing and Allied Health), PubMed and more. Extensive tutorials available. registration/login required.
  • OARE (Environment) registration/login required.

A number of very high quality databases / indexes provide universal free access.  Some examples:

  • Popline indexes the world's reproductive health literature and provides document delivery.  Parent program is Knowledge for Health at Johns Hopkins.
  • PubMed Central via NLM Available to all, can limit searches to those that provide free, full text documents.  Provides tutorials to explain more complex options.
  • TOXNET includes databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases as well as a number of interactive teaching material. Information from this database has been moved and folded into other databases.
  • Trip clinical search tool that searches a number of indexes and is designed to allow health professionals to rapidly identify the highest quality clinical evidence for clinical practice. Not all the linked materials are free to all users.
  • WHO index includes articles from WHO journals.

Many additional databases are available by subscription, e.g. CINAHL, Global Health.

*  Need to login from within a registered institution to access the search engine which links to available full-text journals for the member institutions in that country.

Selected List of Online Catalogs (OPACs)

Aga Khan University Libraries catalog Serves faculty, students, researchers located in Pakistan, East Africa, the UK.  Example of a non-European  resource.

Agricola US Department of Agriculture portal to information sources including tutorials and other information on nutrition

British Library

COPAC library catalogue gives free access to the merged online catalogues of many major University, Specialist, and National Libraries in the UK and Ireland, including the British Library

NLM LocatorPlus® National Library if Medicine online catalog

WHO Headquarters catalog includes a wide range of materials and links to full text materials.

WHO Global Health Library allows you to search regional health information resources: