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"The Blue Trunk libraries project makes it possible to establish a network to disseminate medical and health information that reaches out beyond academic and university circles. The Blue Trunk library operation has defined a target, the health districts; publications have been chosen for this target."
The Blue Trunk Library has been developed by the library of the World Health Organization for installation in district health centres in Africa as a means of compensating for the lack of up-to-date medical and health information.
The collection, which is organized according to major health subjects, contains more than one hundred books on medicine and public health.
In order to make it easier to transport and store, the collection has been packed into a blue metal trunk fitted with two shelves on which the cardboard boxes containing the books are arranged.
Among the works chosen, priority has been given to practical manuals (especially those published by WHO) offering easily accessible solutions to the medical, public health and management problems medical staff may have to face. Differing levels of education among district medical staff have also been taken into account. The same topic may be addressed in different publications from a different point of view: that of the physician, the nurse, the nursing auxiliary or health worker.
General medicine and nursing
Primary health care
Health management and epidemiology
Maternal health and family planning
Nutrition and nutritional disorders
Communicable diseases and vaccination
Parasitic diseases and vector control
Sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS
Surgery, anaesthesia and hospitals
Medical and laboratory technology
How much does it cost?
Each Blue Trunk Library costs $2000.--. This price includes the collection of books already prepared in the Blue Trunk and the training of those responsible for the trunks at the district level, once there are at least 20 trunks in a country. The actual cost of dispatch will be added to the invoice.
Financing and support for the project
The project would be unable to survive in countries without the support of the Ministry of Health and of the Office of the WHO Representative, who secures support from the national authorities and decides with them whether it corresponds to the country's needs.
It is also the Representative, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, who approaches donors in the embassies or international organizations to obtain funding. The World Bank, the European Union, UNDP and UNICEF have provided funding for the project in various countries. Other bilateral cooperation and aid agencies have chosen to include the Blue Trunk libraries in their own health centre projects in countries. It should be mentioned that a significant number of Blue Trunk libraries have been funded by the Offices of WHO Representatives, in order to enable the project to get started.
How to order a Blue Trunk
An order can be placed with the WHO Representative's Office in your country or you can directly contact WHO Press, World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland or by e.mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive a pro forma invoice with the necessary bank details. The Blue Trunks are dispatched after receipt of payment.
To find funding, the WHO Representative's Office in your country could be of assistance as they know the donor agencies working in the health field. Most Blue Trunk libraries already installed in countries have been financed by bilateral or multilateral cooperation agencies, NGOs or sometimes by the WHO Representative's Office itself.