COMMUNITY HEALTH: Multimedia Wellness Program For Moms Draws Praise
An innovative program at the National City library is helping low-income mothers and mothers-to-be access information "to learn about child care and mother care," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. "The 'Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby' project is the popular working prototype of a new concept" in community health promotion. It "uses multimedia -- sound, text, pictures and video -- to present detailed information to users." Librarian Ann Campbell said, "The idea is to make information already contained in the library more accessible. No matter what their language or literacy level, they'll be able to access the information." Campbell said this was particularly important because "[m]ost health information is written at the 14th-grade level." She said, "[I]f you're low-literate, health information is pretty much out of your reach."
The multimedia system can display text in either English or Spanish and will also read the information aloud in either language. "Topics include affordable health insurance, free health care, immunization, nutrition, child safety, childbirth, prenatal and perinatal care and government services," the Union-Tribune reports. In addition, the "system soon will be linked to the Internet and NOAH, a database of current health information and resources from across the country." Campbell said, "This system offers real-life information, not only in print or video, but it also directs them to further resources available in the community." Monica Padilla, a teacher with National City's Child Development Associates, said, "Sometimes, low-income families don't know where to go for information, or they're too shy to ask for it. Some parents don't have health insurance, so these resources could really help them." Campbell said there are plans to link the system to other computers in places such as schools or City Hall so that more people can have access to it. In addition, according to Barbara Will, the network coordinator for the California State Library, "which funded the pilot program, hopes to infuse this multimedia technology with a widespread interlinking of libraries across the state" (Hayhurst, 3/3).