Thursday, September 15, 2011

HICSA meeting of 5 August 2011 MINUTES

WHO Offices, 7th Floor Metropark Building, 351 Schoeman Street, Pretoria

Friday, 5 August 2011, 14:00 - 16:00


Carina van Zyl, Marguerite Nel, Erica van der Westhuizen, Susan Marsh, David Swanepoel, Suzy Nyakala, SailasNyareza, Michael Chimalizeni, Alfred Masiteng


Antoinette Lourens, Berry Pflugler, TertiaCoetsee, Susan Dickinson, Ina Fourie, KabeloNzima, Anna-Marie Young, Anneline van der Gryp

1. Marguerite Nel welcomed all members and attendees at the meeting.

2. Alfred Masiteng of WHO Pretoria gave a brief introduction and explained the purpose of the meeting. Everybody present introduced themselves.

3. Michael Chimalizeni of ITOCA then gave a presentation on The Association of Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA): background, conferences and the importance in Africa. He also presented a proposal for the establishment of an AHILA chapter in South Africa.

The Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA) is a professional association founded in 1984 with now 46 country members and many partners and collaborators worldwide. AHILA aims to improve the provision of up-to-date and relevant information to health and medical workers in Africa. It also strives to encourage the professional development of librarianship and to promote the development of resource-sharing and exchange of experiences and information among African health information professionals. It further aims to promote the development, standardisation, and exchange of national databases of medical and health literature produced in the African countries in the form of an African Index Medicus ( recently, there was no formal, active AHILA chapter in South Africa. The most active chapter currently is Kenya.

Bi-annual congresses are held. The 2010 conference was in Burkina Faso and in 2012 it will be on the Cape Verde islands.

The AHILA-Net Listserv (Managed in Brazzaville, Congo) is a very active communication tool for members. WHO hosts the database in the Congo.

Partners for Health Info (PHI) is based in the UK. They are planning to set up a permanent secretariat in SA. ITOCA will give the AHILA secretariat physical space. Further funding and international partners are amongst others HIFA (Health Info for All) and WHO.

It was proposed to form a steering committee to start working on the constitution and terms of reference for AHILA, South Africa.

The proposed steering committee consists of the following members:

- Alfred Masiteng (WHO)
- Michael Chimalizeni (ITOCA)
- Suzy Nyakale (University of Pretoria)
- Marguerite Nel (representing HICSA)
- Hope Kabamba (United Nations Library)
- Erica van der Westhuizen will act in an advisory capacity

The ideal is to attend the AHILA 2012 conference in Cape Verde as a fully functional country chapter.

Alfred Masiteng will coordinate the activities of the steering committee and will inform all members of the first committee meeting.

It was asked if HICSA still needs to exist after the establishment of an active AHILA chapter in South Africa – as these two associations strive more or less towards the same goals. It was therefore suggested to arrange an annual general meeting for all HICSA members where the future of HICSA needs to be discussed. The date for this meeting was not set yet.

4. Marguerite Nel gave a brief presentation on her recent visit and internship in the United States of America. She also highlighted that she wants to apply these learning experiences and knowledge gained in the USA in supporting the information needs of Africa.

5. Due to the absence of the secretary as well as a large number of other HICSA members, it was decided to postpone the business meeting to the next HICSA meeting.

6. The meeting concluded and was dismissed.

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