9º World Congress on Health Information and Libraries

Salvador, Bahia - Brazil, September, 20 to 23 - 2005


4th Regional Coordination Meeting of the VHL

September, 19 to 20 - 2005

P120 - ELep-Info: An interactive information-sharing site for leprosy elimination worldwide

To include Leprosy Elimination in the international agenda and to strengthen the political commitment to eliminate leprosy in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization, Regional Office of the World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) hosts its new interactive 'sharesite' on leprosy elimination, ELep-Info, at http://shp.paho.org/dpc/cd/elep-info/default.aspx . Although PAHO has a typical website with its information on leprosy organized in categories at http://www.paho.org/english/ad/dpc/cd/leprosy.htm , the increasing demand to share information among varied sources created the need for an interactive tool to complement the PAHO Leprosy Page. Thus, a new site was created to meet this need, one facilitating the dissemination of important documents and images from different sources in a way different from the typical proprietary web page, as well as offering space for inter active discussions and for posting events by all interested parties and institutions: public officials, field workers, NGOs, etc.
The ELep-Info ShareSite (http://shp.paho.org/DPC/cd/elep-info/default.aspx ) provides updated information to people involved in activities to promote and sustain leprosy elimination both in the Americas and worldwide.
This site reflects a longtime wish of PAHO/WHO to produce a digital space where information on leprosy is universally available to anyone who is interested, thus promoting equity of access to information on public health and aiding in its progress. Visitors to this site, most of whom are involved in leprosy-elimination activities around the world, are invited to share their documents, create links to their sites, and initiate discussions on topics of interest.
The site contains a special calendar/agenda on leprosy-elimination activities, where PAHO/WHO posts its events-with foc us on the current campaign underway in Brazil-and invites other institutions to post theirs. This regional and worldwide 'agenda' will serve to keep information on leprosy-elimination activities up to date. For Brazil, it will help contribute to leprosy elimination at the national level by the end of 2005 and at the subnational level by the end of 2010. It contains links to relevant sites on leprosy at PAHO, WHO and elsewhere. Close partners in this activity in Brazil are the Ministry of Health, MORHAN (Movement to Reintegrate Persons Affected by Hanseniasis, the main NGO), the Brazilian Hansenology Society, and the Lauro de Souza Lima Institute.
The site was launched by the PAHO Director during the World Leprosy Day 2005 (the last Sunday in January) as the first internet campaign on leprosy elimination, working in conjunction with the PAHO Leprosy Page with its online documentation library in the four official PAHO languages (Spanish, English, Portuguese and French) and with WHO leprosy-elimination e fforts around the world.  PAHO considers this site a worthwhile IT investment designed to keep pace with increasing needs for information in a global information society.