Databases on health, disability and development

The following is a list of databases relating to international health, disability and development available online or on CD-ROM, and mostly either free or at low cost. Databases are collections of information that have been systematically organised so that they can be searched in a variety of ways. The databases listed here are organised by subject, and each entry includes a short abstract describing the strengths of the collection and search facilities, and details of where and how to access it. 

All of these resources and more can be searched on the Source bibliographic database. This is a draft list and we welcome suggestions of databases to add, comments and corrections. Please email

Selected resources

CIRRIE database of international rehabilitation research

January 2006

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Includes references to over 24,000 materials about international rehabilitation research conducted outside the USA. Most of the references include abstracts or links to the full text of the material. The database offers a detailed search facility allowing users to select broad, narrow or related search terms from a detailed thesaurus, as well as specify geographical region, language, or year of publication of materials. A very useful database, materials indexed are mainly articles from a wide range of journals including 'Disability and Rehabilitation', 'Asia and Pacific Journal on Disabilty', and 'International Journal of Rehabilitation Research'. In addition to indexing from mainstream journals and internet sites, CIRRIE also includes citations to resources not readily available to U.S. researchers

International norms and standards relating to disability


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This resource provides concise analytical information on international norms and standards concerning persons with disabilities that have been adopted under the auspices of the United Nations system or other inter-governmental bodies and organisations. It is a reference tool that contains information resources on the international and regional normative standards to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in society within a broad human rights framework, encompassing the full range of human rights from civil and political to economic, social and cultural rights and the different mechanisms by which these norms and standards have been adopted in to local laws.
Further, this resource is a practical guide to putting into practice rights on behalf of persons with disabilities. It also provides an educational tool designed to help identify effective measures to promote, protect and integrate the rights of persons with disabilities into all areas of national legislation, policies and programmes and to promote increased awareness of internationally accepted norms on: the equalisation of opportunities for persons with disabilities; the full and effective integration of persons with disabilities in social life and development; and standards to protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities. It will be useful for: governments; national and international policy makers; inter-governmental, international and non-governmental organisations; researchers in the area of disability rights; civil society organisations concerned with disability issues and the global disability community

National Rehabilitation Information Centre (NARIC)


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Hosts three databases that can be searched by subject. These are: the NARIC Knowledgebase containing 2800 organisations, agencies, publications and internet resources; REHABDATA an extensive database of disability and rehabilitation literature abstracts spanning more than 50 years of research; and the NIDRR program directory listing 400 disability and rehabilitation research projects across the US. Visitors can search each database by author, keywords, publisher or year of publication, or can browse through pre-selected material on key topics. Although of the literature referenced originates in the USA, the topic 'International Rehabilitation' is a good starting point to identify journal articles and reports relevant to the developing country context. Full text documents are not available, though NARIC does offer a document retrieval service for certain journal articles referenced in REHABDATA. The cost for this service is US$0.05 per page for copying plus shipping and handling

CDC National Prevention Information Network

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This database includes information and resources on HIV, STI and TB prevention. Many are free to order. Most are designed for a US audience, though some may also be appropriate or adaptable to resource-poor contexts

Gender and HIV/AIDS web portal

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This database holds information resources about the gender dimension of HIV and AIDS. The resources include research, studies and surveys, training materials, multi-media advocacy tools, speeches and presentations, press releases and current news, best practices and personal stories, campaign actions and opinion pieces by leading commentators. Short summaries are provided for each of the resources. Resources are organised by topic, type, and region and the site is fully searchable. The portal offers registration for email alerts when the site is updated; on-line forms for sending materials and resources you would like to include in the site; and surveys and opinion polls on specific issues. It has been developed by UNIFEM in collaboration with UNAIDS

HIV/AIDS impact on education clearinghouse

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The clearinghouse contains reports, studies, policy and strategy documents relating to the impact of HIV and AIDS on education. It also includes cross-cutting topics such as gender, conflict situations and workplace issues

Eldis : the gateway to development information


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ELDIS is a gateway to information on development issues, providing free and easy access to a wide range of high quality online resources. It provides summaries and links to online documents. It also offers a directory of websites, databases, library catalogues and email discussion lists, and an email news service that can bring the latest research to your mail-box. Its resource guides offer easy access to information on a wide range of subjects



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PubMed provides access to MEDLINE, the US National Library of Medicine’s freely available database of references to more than 11 million articles published in 4,600 biomedical journals. Most references include abstracts and some link to the full article. Although this database concentrates on biomedical information from major journals, there are useful references to developing county issues, and to disability and rehabilitation issues in developing countries. Use the term "developing countries" together with a more specific health or disability related term to restrict your search in this way. Disability articles have been referenced from International Journal of Rehabilitation Research and International Disability Studies. Users can simply type in search terms, or run very detailed searches using the advance searching mechanism. There is are extensive tutorials and help facilities

Virtual health library (VHL)

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This online portal allows users to search through thirteen general and specialised databases relating to health in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Searching is through DeCS/MESH terminology or through a free-text search box



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This is the World Health Organization (WHO) library catalogue. It allows users to search through all WHO publications from 1948 onwards and articles from WHO-produced journals and technical documents from 1985 to the present. Many references include a link to the full text on the Internet - including the text of many publications which not otherwise free of charge. A simple or detailed search facility is available

African Index Medicus (AIM)


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African Index Medicus is a project based in the World Health Organisation's African Regional Office, and supported by "national focal points" -- libraries in different countries which collect, index and send data to the project coordinator in Congo. The project is designed to provide access to health information published in or related to Africa and to encourage local publishing. It aims to collect references of published and unpublished health information which is not indexed elsewhere. Materials indexed include conference proceedings, journal articles and reports covering subjects such as rehabilitation, leprosy and epilepsy from a medical and practical perspective. Where possible, a link to the full text on the Internet is provided