Improving standards of health, welfare and lifestyle are crucial in developing countries. Effective approaches depend upon authenticated information and evidence-based policy making and consumer choice. The capacity of new hyper-connected information technologies to disseminate health information is an unprecedented opportunity. Relatively simple targets such as expanding the availability of reliable information on pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and rape can help transform the lives of the next female generation in Africa and beyond. It was predicted that we will see substantial changes in the status of women in many parts of the world over the next 10 years, driven by increasing access to hyper-connected information technologies.
Evidence based policy making depends upon the quality of the evidence used. The debate around climate change is interesting because there are large disagreements around the evidence – even when relying upon automated atmospheric temperature observations. Libraries have a role in terms of maintaining our capability of curating, understanding and preserving evidence upon which current and future policies can be based.