Editorials

Global information flow

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7264.776 (Published 30 September 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:776

This article has a correction. Please see:

Publishers should provide information free to resource poor countries

  1. Fiona Godlee, editorial director (medicine), BioMed Central,
  2. Richard Horton, editor, Lancet.,
  3. Richard Smith, editor
  1. BMJ

    Information in practice p 797

    Might information flow be one of the most important factors for improving health and development in resource poor settings? Development organisations have not thought so. They have concentrated on infrastructural projects, increasing the number of health workers and clinics, and programmes to eradicate infections. But now we are at the start of the information age, and we understand better the importance of information. The recent millennium assembly of the United Nations emphasised this in its statement on the right of access to information and communication. Information underpins the learning, research, and debate that drives a country forward. Access to information is essential for describing and understanding the deficiencies of the present, building visions of a better future, developing practical ways to achieve those visions, and educating and inspiring those who must make the future. Information empowers, and those who work with information must realise that its flow, like good communication, must be two way.

    The information gap between the rich and the poor is currently widening, both between and within countries.1 2 The digital divide is more dramatic than any other inequity in health or income.1 This lack of information persists—those medical libraries in sub-Saharan Africa that have had no current journals for years still don't have them.15 Meanwhile, the electronic revolution is providing scientists and health workers in the developed …

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