c/o HIFA2015 Press Release: BMJ Editorial calls on funding agencies to commit to Healthcare Information For All
Dear HIFA2015 colleagues,
Please find the Press Release below. The subject of the press release is an Editorial in the BMJ, calling for major funding agencies to commit to Healthcare Information For All by 2015.
The Editorial is freely available at: http://bit.ly/hifa2015-10
Please be sure to read the Editorial online and submit *your* comment to the BMJ (click on Rapid Response on the left side of the page). Your Rapid Response will be displayed on the BMJ website (after approval by the editors) and may be selected for publication in the print version of the BMJ. Thank you for your support.
We are informed that the Editorial itself will be in the print BMJ within the next few weeks.
Please distribute this message/press release widely to your contacts and networks!
PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BMJ Editorial calls on major funding agencies to commit to 'Healthcare Information For All by 2015'
London, UK, 5 July 2011 - Every day, tens of thousands of people die needlessly, particularly in low and middle income countries, often for the simple reason that the parent, carer or health worker lacks the information and knowledge they need to save them. An Editorial in the British Medical Journal by Richard Smith  and Tracey Pérez Koehlmoos [2,3] asks why a major funding agency has not yet come forward to support Healthcare Information For All by 2015 (HIFA2015) .
HIFA2015 ( www.hifa2015.org) is a global campaign and discussion forum. Its members range from senior executives at the World Health Organization in Geneva to community health workers in rural Uganda. Together they are working for the HIFA2015 goal: 'By 2015 every person worldwide will have access to an informed healthcare provider - lack of relevant, reliable healthcare information will no longer be a major contributor to avoidable death and suffering.' . But progress has been constrained by lack of funding.
The Editorial states: "Funders are much keener to put money into drugs, vaccines, and bed nets than they are into something as nebulous as information access. Yet information and the capacity to act on that information is the first building block of an effective health system".
The Editorial concludes, "the best way forward would be for a major funder to recognise that improved health information is fundamental to global health improvement and development and offer substantial support, not just funds, to HIFA2015.".
HIFA2015 Coordinator, Dr Neil Pakenham-Walsh, welcomes the editorial saying "When we launched HIFA2015 in 2006, we knew our goal was ambitious, but we also knew it could be achieved if all stakeholders work together. All stakeholder groups are now working together and our work is expanding rapidly - what is needed now is financial support from a major funding agency. We repeat the call to the Gates Foundation and others made by international health leaders in The Lancet in 2006: "The challenge is to ensure that everyone in the world can have access to clean, clear, knowledge - a basic human right, and a public health need as important as access to clean, clear, water, and much more easily achievable.".
In keeping with the sentiments of the editorial, the BMJ has made this editorial freely available online. To access the full text simply visit
For further information or interview, please contact:
Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Coordinator HIFA2015, Co-director, Global Healthcare Information Network
neil.pakenham-walsh AT ghi-net.org
The authors of the Editorial have also kindly made themselves available for interview:
Richard Smith, Director, UnitedHealth Chronic Disease Initiative, UK
richardswsmith AT yahoo.co.uk
Tracey Koehlmoos, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh
Tracey AT icddrb.org
Notes for Editors:
1. Richard Smith is the former editor of the British Medical Journal and is now director of the UnitedHealth Chronic Disease Initiative.
2. Tracey Koehlmoos is Head of the Health & Family Planning Systems Programme, ICDDR,B, Bangladesh & Adjunct Professor, Department of Health Administration and Policy, College of Health and Human Services, George Mason University, USA.
3. Further to discussion on the HIFA2015 forum, Richard Smith and Tracey Koehlmoos published an editorial in The Lancet (22 January 2011) which led to a reversal of Elsevier's decision to withdraw free access to medical journals in Bangladesh.
4. Healthcare Information for All by 2015 is the flagship project of Global Healthcare Information Network - a non-profit organisation based in the UK. HIFA2015 is a global campaign and discussion forum that brings together more than 5000 health professionals, information technologists, publishers, librarians, researchers and policymakers from over 2000 organisations in 158 countries worldwide. HIFA2015 is supported by organisations such as the British Medical Association, Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Nursing.
5. To achieve its goal, HIFA2015 has developed a three pronged strategy based on communication (bringing together a critical mass of interested parties in five global e-mail forums), understanding (of information needs and how to meet them set out in a database of evidence), and advocacy (persuading governments, funding agencies, and others to invest in cost effective health information services). For further details, see http://www.hifa2015.org
6. Tikki Pang (WHO), Muir Gray (NHS, UK), and Tim Evans (WHO): A 15th grand challenge for global public health. The Lancet 2006; 367:284-286.