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4.6. Library and information services

There are over 5000 PHCs and sub-centres many times that number spread all over the country. Most of them are run by young medical graduates and other health auxiliaries. About 70% of the qualified doctors in our country are private practitioners, vast majority of whom are practicing in rural areas and small towns. These two categories of doctors, between themselves, cater to the health needs of more than 80% of the population in the country. From the gigantic responsibility they shoulder, it is but logical to expect that information should be developed so as to be able to continuously and efficiently meet their information needs. In fact, there should be a system to impart continuous medical education to them to match the explosion of information. To say that there is no system at present even to reach the doctors in the district hospitals, is to say the least.

Editorial, NTI Newsletter Dec 1980, Vol 17/4, 73

As stated earlier in Chapter I, NTI had recognised the need of library even before the formulation of the DTP. Its library had accessed knowledge relevant to its proclaimed objectives from variety of sources. It had steadfastly worked to discover much by itself through research and training. It created several innovative platforms, one of which is the NTI Newsletter; now known as the NTI Bulletin for information dissemination. In addition, it planned methods to interest even the remotely concerned: preparing audio visual material, briefing sessions to young nurses, and medical college students, are some examples.

Successive Directors had shown keen interest in the development of the library information services. Under their direct guidance, the Sr Librarian Ms Sudha S Murthy worked with dynamism and skill so that the library and information services became efficient, user friendly and highly organised in information retrieval. Its budget was increased and it acquired a Modi Xerox 1035 copier, and started reprographic services. During 1990s the section moved to a spacious accommodation provided in the ground floor of the new building. With the acquisition of necessary infrastructure, the library became more user friendly. The section began to organise and maintain separate sections for xerox, record keeping, periodicals, book section and even a section for non-serious reading on a well laid out plan. It began to take keen interest in the collection and development of materials like slides, transparencies, audio and audio-visual cassettes. It became a documentation centre for important records and began to maintain master files of (i) research protocols, (ii) NTI publications, (iii) WHO quarterly reports, (iv) monitoring reports, and (v) other important reports. The publication wing was started to produce manuals, propaganda material and other selected works. It maintained lists of users under different priorities and supplies were also made by this section. It also became a repository for all kinds of material published by NTI. Perhaps it became one of the best library and information centres in the TB field.

The NTI faculty took pains to introduce science writing to visiting trainees and young and upcoming TB researchers. The faculty carefully selected topics of interest in training, research and programme functioning. It encouraged them to have group discussions and guided them to do reference work in the library before beginning to write. Their writing was reviewed and some of it were forwarded to NTI Bulletin for publication. NTI Bulletin published selected articles. NTI also encouraged publication of a book “An introduction to tuberculin testing and BCG vaccination”, written by AN Shashidhara. The book published in 1980 was well received by experts and professionals including DGHS112.

It published a chart “Guidelines for MOs of PHI on NTP” in 1990. In 1991, “Facts and Figures on TB and NTP” compiled by Mr VV Krishna Murthy, was published. This booklet was reprinted in 1994. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of tuberculin by Robert Koch, the booklet “Tuberculin skin test” by AN Shashidhara and K Chaudhuri was published. In 1994, the “Chart on motivation” was published. In 1996, the chart “Guidelines for laboratory procedure in TB” was published. In August 1995, the booklet “TB and HIV” compiled by doctors VH Balasangameshwara, Sujatha Chandrasekaran, Sophia Vijay and L Suryanarayana was published. In October 1995, the booklet “What we should know about TB, its diagnosis, treatment and prevention”, compiled by doctors B Mahadev and VH Balasangameshwara was published. WHO funds were utilised to get many of these printed which were supplied to select users free of cost (Annexure III).

The section got a boost when it acquired a computer and the requisite software. During 1994-95, Database ‘NTI’ was created using common communication format on CDS/ISIS platform. ‘SOCTB’ - a database covering literature on sociological aspects was created in collaboration with the Foundation for Research in Community Health (FRCH), Mumbai. A new ET and T colour television was installed in the audio-visual wing. A printed set of revised manuals were despatched to all STOs and functioning DTCs of the country113. The printed ‘Guidelines for MOs of PHIs’ was also sent to all the PHIs in the country through their respective DTCs.

During their short stay of a few weeks or long stay of 8-12 weeks, every trainee/visitor was introduced to the library, and encouraged to use it as often as possible. This created an awareness of the vast information available and facilitates in expanding his/her knowledge horizons. Hardly any TB worker who visited NTI departed before utilising its services.

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