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

Disability and Development

CIRRIE database of international rehabilitation research

January 2006

Expand view

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

Disability Information and Resource Centre (DIRC) Library Catalogue


Expand view

Includes references for disability-related materials from Australia and other countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and the Western Pacific Islands. Offers a fairly basic search mechanism with a word wheel, which helps identify broad subject areas. Materials include journal articles, books, conference reports and videos. References include the title, author, publisher and subject keywords. None of the resources is available on-line

International norms and standards relating to disability


Expand view

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)


Expand view

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

Diseases and disease control: Communicable diseases

Diseases and disease control: HIV/AIDS

Gender and HIV/AIDS web portal

Expand view

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

Expand view

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

Health planning and health management

Information services and information management

Digital dividend project clearinghouse


Expand view

The Digital Dividend Project provides a database of over 800 research tools and information services. The project's goal is to identify and promote sustainable solutions for bridging the global digital divide -- catalyzing large-scale use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to create social and economic dividends in poor communities throughout the developing world. The project includes information services, Clearinghouse project data and analysis, full-length business case studies, and news alerts

Politics, economics and development

Eldis : the gateway to development information


Expand view

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

India Development Information Network (indev) Databases


Expand view

Indev hosts eight databases to assist project managers trying to access development information on India. The databases cover organisations, projects, documents, events, jobs, volunteer opportunities, appeals and consultants. Disability and rehabilitation are both listed as specific sectors for search purposes. The organisations database contains details of, and links to, over 200 organisations working in the field of disability and rehabilitation in India. The documents database contains limited but useful references to disability materials, abstracts and press releases. Straightforward to use with various search options depending on the database selected

Medical services

OMNI (Organising Medical Networked Information) : the UK's gateway to high quality internet resources in health and medicine


Expand view

OMNI is a gateway to evaluated, quality internet resources in health and medicine, aimed at students, researchers, academics and practitioners in the health and medical sciences. OMNI is created by a core team of information specialists and subject experts based at UK universities, and it covers a wide range of medical specialities and related subjects. Basic searching is available through a free-text search box, and an 'Advanced search' allows users to specify the type of resource (book, database, organisation, article, image etc) and additional search terms. Specifying "developing countries" as one of your search terms will help to limit results



Expand view

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



European association of development research and training institutes (EADI)
Europe's forum on international cooperation (EUFORIC)

Expand view

OneSite Europe is a joint venture by several European partners (CIDSE, EADI, ECDPM, Euforic, IICD) to maintain a contacts database.The joint database is used by each of the partners for internal management tasks - and is also the basis for this publicly-available directory of development organisations. The aim is to facilitate networking among development organisations by providing an online searchable database

Primary health care

Population and health infoshare

Expand view

This is an electronic resource centre of documents and upcoming events on reproductive and child health, HIV and AIDS, and population. The resources are submitted by partner organisations that work on projects in developing countries

Expand view

This website allows users to search several databases in a completely decentralised network, through one free-text query box. It retrieves information on health projects, people, organisations and publications in online journals and pubmed/realtime health news and mailing lists. The site allows searching in several different languages. You can also register with "My sharingpoint" to receive notification by e-mail when an article (from Medline, Scielo or BioMedCentral) or news (indexed automatically every hour) that matches your interest profile is added to the site. In addition to the journal services, retrieves information from Synergy (USAID), WHO's Research and Training in Tropical Diseases programme (TDR), the Dutch Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Source, IAVI (vaccines), the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Bank and many other sources

Virtual health library (VHL)

Expand view

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



Expand view

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

Regional information

Health communication

Getting research into policy and practice (GRIPP)

POPULATION COUNCIL. Frontiers in Reproductive Health (FRONTIERS) programme

Expand view

This website is a resource for researchers to aid them in changing policy by directly accessing and communicating with policy makers. The website has three components. One is a database of case studies documenting the process of getting research into practice. This gives an opportunity to researchers to share their experiences. The second section (on the left hand side of the website) comprises links to web pages for each component of the GRIPP process, giving examples of factors to consider and directions to resources relating to each step of the process. The third aspect of the website is a list of more general GRIPP related resources and a place where it is hoped that researchers will contribute comments related to both the content and activities of the website

M/MC health communication materials database


Expand view

Online database of international health education materials collected by Media/Material Clearinghouse. Topics include reproductive health, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS and STDs, development and population. Searchable by type of material, region/country, language, producer and subject area

Photoshare : images from international public health activities


Expand view

Photoshare is part of the Information and Knowledge for Optimal Health Project (the INFO Project), based at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Communication Programs. It provides an online database of photographs available free of charge for non-profit educational use. New features on the website include practical, illustrated photography and imaging tips; photographer spotlights; and information on how to share photos. Users can also subscribe to the Photoshare email list for news and new photos (see website for details)