HINARI: Journals and Books to Physicians in the Poorest Countries

June 19th, 2012 

by Donna Flake, MSLS, MSAS, Director, SEAHEC Medical Sciences Library

The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a tremendously innovative and benevolent program to help physicians, researchers, clinicians, students and health administrators in resource-poor countries.

In a partnership with numerous Scientific, Medical and Technical publishers, WHO provides access to thousands of full-text medical journals and medical books to these constituencies worldwide.  This is done through an internet based program called HINARI (www.who.int/hinari).

The program began in 2002, when WHO contacted key publishers, and requested access to e-journals and other resources.  Today over 150 publishers make their electronic publications available through HINARI.  The program includes access to over 8,500 full text journals, and over 7,000 full text medical books.  This greatly changed the playing field for the health practitioners trying to keep abreast of the medical literature.

Here is how a user from a resource-poor country can obtain access to the HINARI collection of full-text books and journals:

A physician at a medical institution contacts the HINARI program at the World Health Organization and registers for a login and password.

Accesses full-text articles, books and other electronic resources from the HINARI website.

Searches PubMed from the United States National Library of Medicine using the HINARI access code.

Pulls up full text journals and books through PubMed.

Of course there are still some obstacles to using HINARI including irregular supply of electricity, lack of hardware and insufficient bandwidth.

WHO is reaching out to teach members how to access the HINARI collection.  There are many trainers all over the world.  I received HINARI training at a conference of the Medical Library Association in 2009.  The purpose of the training was to instruct individuals from industrialized countries so that they could train partners from low-income ones.  In June 2009, I traveled to Moldova in Eastern Europe, and trained 23 health professionals at the Medical University of Moldova, and 20 health practitioners from the Free International University of Moldova. The class participants were very grateful for the HINARI program, and my training.  My SEAHEC Medical Library in Wilmington, NC has an international partnership with the Medical University of Moldova.  Silvia Ciubrei, Deputy Director of this library, is now a HINARI super trainer for the World Health Organization and travels to Eastern Europe and Russia for the purpose of providing training to health practitioners.  She speaks Romanian, English, and Russian, so her language skills are highly valued.  Silvia is also an excellent teacher.

The WHO divides the countries of the world into 3 categories:

In low-income countries, health practitioners have free access to HINARI.  (One example is Haiti).  More than 5,000 institutions in these countries have HINARI access.

In emerging countries, each institution must pay $1,000.00 per calendar year.  One example of a country in this category is Ukraine.  More than 1,388 institutions in these countries have access.

Richer countries – no access to HINARI.

Orthopedic materials in HINARI include:

Acta Ortopedica Brasileira

Advances in Orthopedics

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

Case Reports in Orthopedics

Chiropractic & Osteopathy

Chiropractic and Osteopathy

Clinical Medicine:  Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders

Indian Journal of Orthopaedics

Internet Journal of Orthopedic Surgery

Internet Journal of Rheumatology

ISRN Orthopedics

Journal of Indian Rheumatology Association

Journal of Orthopaedics

Open Access Rheumatology:  Research and Reviews

Open Rheumatology Journal

Revista Brasileira de Reumatologia

Revista Colombiana de Reumatologia

Revista Cubana de Ortopedia y Traumatologia

Romanian Journal of Rheumatology

For more information on HINARI – www.who.int/hinari


Mrs. Flake is the Director of the SEAHEC Medical Library in Wilmington, NC, USA.  She has received numerous awards for her accomplishments including being named a Distinguished Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals.