28/02/2002

Cross-border agreement gives access to Internet health library

The Dail's Minister for Health and Children, Micheál Martin, and Stormont Assembly's Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Bairbre de Brún have announced a unique agreement to allow anyone in Ireland with an Internet connection to access an international health library from their own computer.

Access to the health library, for which Internet users usually have to pay, has been made free for anyone from Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland courtesy of both administrations.

The health ministers from north and south of the border agreed to pay a subscription fee to enable the public to access reviews of medical procedures and health conditions submitted by trained doctors, nurses and patients all over the world.

Launch the free health access library on Wednesday February 27 Minister Martin said: “Anyone on the island of Ireland with access to the Internet will now be able to use what is regarded as the world’s best single source of evidence on the effects of different forms of health care.”

Minister de Brún said the joint development would make high quality health information available to the general public in an easily accessible way.

The agreement has been reached between the Cochrane Collaboration, which produces the library, Update Software, the Health Research Board and the R&D Office. This is the first time that access to the Cochrane Library has been made widely available to Internet users in any country in the world.

The Cochrane Library is produced through the work of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organisation that prepares and maintains systematic reviews of the effects of health care treatments and regimes.

The Collaboration includes material from more than 6,500 people who are mostly volunteers working in health care in over 60 countries, including the island of Ireland.

The Library’s address is: www.update-software.com/access/ireland

(AMcE)

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