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Barriers to equitable access to quality health information with emphasis on developing countries

This article, published for The Rockefeller Foundation's conference series 'Making the eHealth Connection', assesses the barriers to quality health information in developing countries, which hamper the development of health systems and services. While the Internet has improved access to health information in developed countries, obstacles remain in developing nations — the most common being unreliable connectivity and expensive Internet access, especially in rural areas.

Other barriers include a lack of medical writing skills; language diversity; copyright issues; economic constraints; poor visibility of scientific outputs from developing countries; low levels of information technology literacy; cultural and lifestyle hurdles and a lack of appropriate public policies and funding.

The authors assess the current status of such barriers and explain how training, open access publishing and recent innovations in Internet access can help. They argue that the digital divide, and its consequent disparities, also exists in pockets within developed countries.

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