Tag Archives: Medical

More books for medical students in Malawi

With around 300 students to teach, lecturer Prisca tells us how books donated by Book Aid International impact lives for those at St John of God College of Health and Science in Malawi.

Healthcare in Malawi is under constant strain, with the threat of HIV, malaria, TB and many more diseases the daily norm. Add to this the pressure of Covid-19 and you have a healthcare system stretched to its limit.

With very few doctors and poorly established community-level health services, it can be hard for patients to get the care needed. That’s why Prisca and many other lecturers believe in empowering communities at the grassroots, to create the next generation of health professionals in Malawi.

But for lecturers like Prisca, educating her students provides its own range of challenges.

I think most colleges have libraries, but the standard of the books was not up to date. 1993, 1992, they were old books.

Without up to date information, students are taught outdated content, which continues to hinder healthcare development in Malawi, and for Prisca, it doesn’t stop there.

Libraries are small, and students many.

Students sharing a book at the college library back when it was still open

With such few books, students often have to share between sixty of their peers, loaning for an hour or so before they need to pass it on.

At Book Aid International, we believe every student should have the right to quality information. That’s why, with your support we’ve been able to send a total of 4,708 books to date to St John of God College of Health Sciences in Malawi, allowing all students to access up-to-date information.

With more books available, students can take books out of the library and have access to quality information both at home and on campus, something which remains critical to learning during Covid-19.

Lecturer teaching students before lockdown

Without this service, students this semester are unlikely to graduate, leading to a potential shortage of doctors and nurses in the coming years.

2020 without Book Aid International? It would have been a disaster. They would have even less information and both teachers and students would have had problems accessing information. So, the value of the books we receive is priceless. It really helps us to do our job and for the students to learn.

Books have made a huge difference to both teaching and learning in Malawi. It’s with your help that we can continue to send up to date and relevant information to schools and colleges like this one.


Bwindi Nursing School Uganda

How medical books benefit whole communities

Your support is enabling medical practitioners in Uganda to deliver safer healthcare. Our recent project with Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB) has not only provided medical practitioners and students with a broad range of up-to-date medical texts but also training for the librarians who run the medical libraries they use, equipping them with the skills to manage their libraries and help people find the books they need.

Here, the staff and students using the revitalised medical libraries tell us more:

Medical students reading in library


Having access to up-to-date books is a step change for these hospitals and colleges:

It felt like a wedding was taking place.

“The day I brought these books and I started opening the boxes, people were very happy and it felt like a wedding was taking place. It is memorable as I suddenly realised life had changed for the college community. I had good books for my users.”

– Amos Aine, Library Manager and Medical Instructor, Bwindi School of Nursing and Midwifery.


The books are already making a huge difference for students:

Elynah with the book on dermatology that really helped her

“In the last semester we studied a dermatology course. It seemed difficult and I was wondering what to do. In the meantime, these books had just been brought and I found a book on dermatology. I read the book which made me understand the subject well that I passed my exam very well with a grade ‘A’ of 85 points. Later on when I did my dermatology paper two exam I got a grade ‘A’ of 89 points. I now like dermatology and feel it is my best subject!”

– Elynah Mussiimenta, Medical Laboratory Techniques Student, Ishaka Adventist Hospital.

I really understand the brain topic now.

“We have discussion groups in our class. One day, our group leader told me that I would lead a discussion on the brain. I did not understand the brain well. I read my class notes on the topic of brain and I could not understand. I came to the library and read the topic on brains from the Building a Medical Vocabulary book and I got the topic right. When I led a discussion with my group members, they were very happy as I was able to present well. I really understand the brain topic now.”

Maria Gorret Nakamya, student, Mukono Diocese School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Bwindi Nursing School Library
Bwindi Nursing School Library filled with brand new books

And lecturers have the resources to teach the curriculum well:

“They are ideal for the course unit I am teaching. They are easy to understand . . . The books can be used from diploma to masters level. … it reduces the pressure on me. I can now cross-check books, get update for drugs, look at adverse effects.”

– Rachael Luwaga, Acting Head of Department, Bishop Stuart Ruharo University Department of Nursing.

When medical practitioners and students have access to brand new up-to date books, the whole community benefits:

“As teachers we are getting updated information which we are passing on to our students. In turn the patients in our hospitals are benefiting from latest practices and good quality of care from us.”

Amos Aine, library manager and medical instructor, Bwindi School of Nursing and Midwifery.


The Medical Books for Ugandan Hospitals project has been generously funded by GILDEAD Sciences Inc. We would like to thank them for their support.

We would also like to extend a special thank you to Elsevier whose medical book donations have made up a significant proportion of the books used for this project.

Bwindi Nursing School Uganda

Medical Books for Ugandan Hospitals evaluation

The Medical Books for Ugandan Hospitals was implemented in seven hospitals and medical training colleges in Uganda in partnership with the Ugandan Protestant Medical Bureau.

This evaluation report presents the project’s key findings.


Background to the programme

The project aimed to improve the quality of healthcare in Uganda by providing health professionals and students with access to up-to-date medical books and resources, enabling them to make better-informed decisions on treatment and patient care.

The project’s main objectives were:

  • Provide an updated print collection of a range of medical and healthcare books, including HIV/AIDS, for professional hospital staff in seven hospitals in Uganda.
  • Equip hospital librarians with the confidence and key librarianship skills to manage their library and promote their collections.
  • Provide support to medical and healthcare students during their education and training.

Key findings from the Medical Books for Ugandan Hospitals project

– Students are better able to support their studies.

Students reported that they now have the resources to read around subjects they are taught in class and understand subjects they are having difficulty with.

– Lecturers have more resources for their lessons.

Teaching staff report that lesson planning and setting tests and examinations is much easier with a broader range of up-to-date resources to draw upon.

– Improvement in students’ performance.

Training colleges report that exam scores are improving thanks to access to the new books.


The Medical Books for Ugandan Hospitals project has been generously funded by GILDEAD Sciences Inc. We would like to thank them for their support.


Children's Corner a MYSA Library

March Book of the Month

Our March Book of the Month is:

Ready RN
Ready RN: Handbook for Disaster Nursing and Emergency Preparedness published and donated by Elsevier

In today’s world, nurses are being increasingly asked to respond to healthcare events for which they have had little preparation and this book seeks to address that need.

Colour coded and spiral bound for rapid reference, this comprehensive text provides nurses working in a variety of settings with the essential information they need during a large-scale casualty event.

Ready RN covers everything from the healthcare implications of natural disasters and public health emergencies to human-caused disasters plus in depth advice on clinical management in these situations.


Ready RN inside spread


The quick facts and clinical decision-making support that the handbook provides aims to enable nurses to respond appropriately to any type of emergency. It can also be used as a teaching aid to help nurses and student nurses better understand disaster nursing and prepare for emergencies.

Books like this are especially useful for nurses working in places where resources, training or preparation are limited and particularly relevant to countries that are at risk of outbreaks of contagious diseases and natural disasters such as those recovering from the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in southern Africa recently.


Nursing students

Enhancing healthcare training Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, there are few medical books available in bookshops and their high price points mean few healthcare students are able to purchase them. Yet tight budgets can mean that medical school libraries are unable to provide all the up-to-date books their students need.

Thanks to your support, this is not the case for nursing students at St Luke’s Mission Hospital in Lupane who have a well-stocked library of books to bolster their lessons with.

We talked to nursing and midwifery tutor Mollie Gabellah at St Luke’s about the difference books that you have helped to send are making for her students.


Mollie Gabellah
Nursing and Midwifery Tutor, Mollie


When I came here in 2000, the books were quite old and the situation was something else. But in the past three, four years we’ve been getting regular supplies from Book Aid International – new books which are according to what is expected on the programme and the curriculum. And not just one copy of a book, we are getting several.


Using books in class
Student nurses using books you help to send in class


We cannot buy books because we don’t have the money. Budgets for running hospitals are a challenge and the hospital schools are the worst affected. They don’t view schools as essential services. The clinical services are the essential ones. But it is the schools that produce the people who man the clinical departments.


Student practical
Students put methods learned from books you help to send into practice

Even if we had the money, we have no shops that sell these books. People can say you have the alternative source of the internet but we do not have reliable internet. For students to be able to access the internet, it’s on their phone and they have to pay. So the only source we have is through Book Aid International.


St Luke's Library
The library room stocked with books you have helped to send


When we had fewer books, we would reserve the newer ones for the tutors only. They would use them as resource books. But in the end it meant they had to work hard to give students all the information they needed [as the students didn’t have access to the books]. But it was like feeding them all the time. Now we have more books, the tutors can give the students a guideline which they’ll go and research and come up with their own notes. So the more books we have, the more independent the students become. If they can go out and search the information, that enhances their understanding.

We want to reach world standards – it’s not like we are training nurses so they can go and work abroad. We need those skills, that knowledge here. These books from Book Aid International have enhanced our service delivery.