NIH donates journals to Baghdad medical school

July - August, 2009 | Volume 8, Issue 4

Photo: A man removes bound medical journals from shelves at the NIH library

Omar Cisneros helps clear
shelves at the NIH Library
of thousands of medical
journals to be sent to Iraq.

The 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. Fogarty International Center—working closely with the Iraqi embassy, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and International Relief and Development, the nongovernmental organization that arranged for the shipment to Iraq—facilitated the transfer of the periodicals.

Photo: a long line of packed and sealed boxes next to library stacks

Boxes of journals await
shipping to Iraq. It was
estimated that over 50,000
periodicals were donated.

"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 I. 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 said.

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 the shipping.

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