AN ANALYSIS ON THE AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION RESOURCES FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

Library information sources are platforms containing rich sources of information that are current, topical, available and accessible. Utilization of information resources by medical libraries is exciting and challenging in all facets of their services and functions. Today, medical libraries are required to provide quantitative and qualitative information sources and services to health care professionals in medical institutions. However, it has been observed that students and medical professionals don?t even make use of the medical library as they ought to.

CHAPTER ONE

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Efficient use of information is of paramount importance in the medical world. Medical professionals seek high-quality medical information which consists of a collection of facts and theories that can be integrated and synthesized to care for patients, conduct research and educate health professionals1. The 1988 national health policy recognises that more efficient delivery of health care can be achieved in Nigeria by a more efficient management of the health resources, through the establishment of functional information system.
This health information could be regarded as a management tool to: assess the state of the health of the population, monitor the progress towards stated goals and targets of health services, identify major health problems and set priorities on the local, state and national levels, provide indicators for evaluating the performance of the health services and their impact on the health status of the population. Also, to provide information for those who need to take action.
On the other hand, medical and health care practitioners must have access to and supply of information resources in any format {electronic, text, audiovisual, etc} for efficient and effective performance3. However, such medical information resources must be readily made available to them on demand and at least cost. Also, in the medical libraries, the medical practitioners, researchers, students and others in allied fields who are the patrons of the library need up-to-date information frequently in education programmes, diagnostic procedures, research on varied field and treatment of various ailments (Rees 1993).

This is why the establishsearchers. Since medical research is closely associated with the collection, dissemination and use of medical data and information to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of health care delivery services. It is in the light of this that the researchers are interested in studying the use of information resources in some selected health science libraries in Lagos, Nigeria.
Information is the life blood of health services management. It has always been used extensively in the provision of health care services. Information is the basic resource of health managers and its availability and use within the health service can promote better clinical decision making. Popoola and Komolafe averred that the provision and efficient use of information resources in medical libraries are central to any meaningful research, teaching and health care delivery services in Nigeria.
It was also reported that maximum access to information resources available in Nigerian special libraries if provided to policy makers and planners and all information users would promote better utilization of libraries in general and special libraries in particular, it will also contribute to individual and national development. However, information use by medical researchers and healthcare professionals are of paramount importance in the development of functional health information services and system.
Hence the study is to evaluate the level of availability and utilization of information resources in medical research as well as stating out the challenges encountered in ensuring the accessibility of those information resources to improve medical research. Therefore the Adeola Odeku library at the University College Teaching Hospital, Ibadan serves as the case study.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Library information sources are platforms containing rich sources of information that are current, topical, available and accessible. Utilization of information resources by medical libraries is exciting and challenging in all facets of their services and functions. Today, medical libraries are required to provide quantitative and qualitative information sources and services to health care professionals in medical institutions. However, it has been observed that students and medical professionals don?t even make use of the medical library as they ought to.
This is very disturbing because of the characteristic of the profession which rely on current information and best practices, making the library an inevitable media to salvage it from obsoleteness of print resources when compared to what is obtained on-line Medical libraries are now faced with the challenge of responding to the online information needs of medical professionals, students, teachers and those who are working to improve the health of citizens. Upon this background, it becomes pertinent to assess the utilization of information resources in medical research to report the event of availability and utilization of information sources and services.

1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The objectives of this study are as follows:

1 To identify information sources and services available for medical professionals in the library.
2. To examine the level of availability of information resources for medical research in the library
3 To ascertain the use and the extent to which information sources and services are utilize by medical practitioners.
4 To identify the level of satisfaction to users of the information sources and services in the library.
5. To examine the impact of information resources in the medical field.
6. To ascertain the challenges encountered by medical practitioners in utilizing the information resources in the library.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1. What are the information resources available for medical use in the library?
2. What is the level of availability of information resources for medical research in the library?
3. What is the level of utilization of information resources by medical practitioners in conducting medical research?
4. What is the level of satisfaction derived in utilizing the information resources for medical research?
5. What are the impacts of information resources in the medical field?
6. What are the challenges encountered by medical practitioners in utilizing information resources in the library?

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

In view of the assumed relevance of information resource where more than half of today?s current journal articles are published for research, it suffices to undertake a study of availability and utilization of information sources and services in the medical libraries to determine the extent to which students and health practitioners? access and use these sources of information.
Secondly, the study would serve as a feedback mechanism of what is obtainable in the medical libraries of the medical centers. It will assist in policy formulation and implementation that can ensure availability and use of online information resources and services. Thirdly, the findings of the study will contribute to the depth of literature of online information sources and services especially in the area of medical libraries.

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study covers the Adeola Odeku library of the University College Teaching Hospital, Ibadan. The study investigated the availability and utilization of information sources and services in the medical library. That is the services rendered by the libraries via online information sources and the extent to which the students and health practitioners utilize them for their information needs.

1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

1. Network interconnectivity to enhance elaborate research ?
2. High level of illiteracy
3. Organization operational huddles.
4. Time and cost constraints due to cause of scarcity in gasoline to go about the research.