NIH has gone the extra mile in helping rebuild the University of Baghdad Medical School by donating more than 5,000 linear feet of medical journals.
About 50,000 journals, with a subscription value of $27 million, were being cleared from the shelves at the NIH Library in the Clinical Center. The Fogarty International Center—working closely with the Iraqi embassy, the U.S. Agency for International Development and International Relief and Development, the nongovernmental organization that arranged for the shipment to Iraq—facilitated the transfer of the periodicals.
|At left, Omar Cisneros helps clear shelves at the NIH Library of thousands of medical journals to be sent to Iraq. At right, Doris Hood, NIH Library specialist, packs boxes of the journals in preparation for shipping to Baghdad.
“Restocking the major medical library in Iraq will provide students, teachers and researchers access to the most up-to-date advances in medical research,” said Fogarty director Dr. Roger Glass. “It fulfills in a unique way Fogarty’s mission to advance training and research in global health while building bridges to health professionals in resource-poor countries.”
Judy Levin, Fogarty’s program officer for the Middle East and North Africa, and Dr. Abdul Hadi al-Khalili, cultural attaché at the Iraqi embassy, were instrumental in brokering the transfer.
The Iraqi medical community is not yet able to access journals online, so the paper versions could be an effective interim solution for the rebuilding nation.
“The mental health community will especially benefit,” Al-Khalili said. “More than 30 of the journals are in psychology and over 60 of them are psychiatric journals.
“We hope this great donation will be the inspiring nucleus for creating an Iraqi National Library of Medicine serving not only the Iraqi medical community but the whole region,” Al-Khalili added.
Shipping the publications in 1,740 boxes was a large-scale effort involving NIH library staff, contractors and movers.
USAID, a major partner in the U.S. government’s reconstruction effort in Iraq, paid the cost of shipping.