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Tuesday, 17th August 2010 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By Joanna Ptolomey

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In Scotland the months from June to August can prove to be a bad time to visit any of our beautiful rural locations due to nasty insects called ‘midges’. It is ‘our mosquito of Scotland’ and can leave many nasty bites – they can make your time outdoors hell on earth. I love camping and indeed at this time of year I become very specific about places I won’t camp due to the midge population – which, if you are interested, you can check out in the midge forecast at http://2010.midgeforecast.co.uk/. However annoying the Scottish midge can be it is no killer compared to that similar insect the mosquito which can carry malaria. The latest figures from the World Health Organisation show that malaria caused one million deaths following bites from the mosquito. This disease also affects the economics of infected countries and can cause a decrease of their GDP by up to 1.3%. Malaria is not only preventable but curable. Much work is done around diagnosis, treatment methods, drug resistance, prevention techniques, insecticide resistance and elimination. Whilst working as a clinical librarian I was involved in evidence based searches on these very topic areas. One of the biggest STM (science, technology and medical) providers, Elsevier, has just launched Malaria Nexus (http://www.malarianexus.com/). This intends to be a global malaria resource for researchers, editors and opinion leaders. Elsevier are already providers of some of the leading clinical journals for published research into malaria. The resource covers the topics of Parasitology, Entomology and Tropical Medicine. The journals list has some of the ‘big hitters’ such as The Lancet, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the International Journal of Parasitology. The publisher wants this resource to go behind the article and provide a forum for communication – to encourage discussion, opinion, and research around malaria topics. The latest malaria articles are free to download. There will also be author and expert interviews expanding on their thoughts and the background to their published articles. From my experience as a clinical librarian, and nearly fifteen years of working with biomedical information, I can see the value of this resource. Many clinicians and scientists are highly specialised in their field and will follow, in many cases, a few highly specialised journals - those where they and their peers would consider publishing. This resource takes that notion one step further by opening up the stories and experts behind the evidence. I believe that clinicians and scientists will react favourably to this resource. I hope that in my lifetime malaria is eradicated……the Scottish midge however, that I think shall live for ever especially in my camping nightmares.


 

About this item:



Joanna is a freelance information consultant and analyst. She started her career in information as a clinical librarian in the NHS before moving to global consultancy group DTZ. Prior to working in the information sector Joanna was a project planning engineer in the construction industry for 10 years.

She hopes to help people use information for assessing risk, making decisions and in governance. She is particularly interested in inequalities issues such as accessibility, information literacy and the information divide especially in the healthcare sector. She is the author of a chapter 'Digital divide and accessibility' in Government Information Management in the 21st Century. She is also the author of the book Taking charge of your career: a guide for library and information professionals.

You can follow Joanna on Twitter.

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