ICML+AHILA, June 2021

Call for Papers, Posters and Lightning talks

Theme: A call for action: Engaging to save lives

The International Congress of Medical Librarianship (ICML) and the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA) are pleased to invite you to the June 2021 Congress which brings together medical librarians and other health information professionals, academics, researchers and others from related disciplines.

ICML+AHILA 2021 takes place six years after the 2015 historic adoption of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals with a deadline of 2030. With less than ten years to achieve the goals, the UN has declared the need for a Decade of Action. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises that health is directly or indirectly linked to all of the 17 goals. The UNESCO Strategy on Education outlines several health-related goals. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has been documenting the contribution of libraries in: ‘Access and opportunities for all: How libraries contribute to the United Nations 2030 Agenda.’ Worldwide, there are national, institutional, regional and other initiatives focusing on improving the health and well being of citizens. Our conference will explore the contributions that medical librarians and other information professionals are making to achieve global health goals by connecting, engaging and ultimately improving health and saving lives. 

The conference has six subthemes outlined below:

Sub-theme 1: Accessibility: providing access to timely, affordable and reliable health                                        information 

  1. access for practitioners
  2. access for consumers
  3. access for researchers
  4. open access initiatives
  5. privacy and security issues in patient information.

Sub-theme 2: Collaboration and Partnerships: forming effective bonds to enable                               successful implementation

  1. within institutions and organisations
  2. across disciplines
  3. North/South, South/North, South/South
  4. with the community.

Sub-theme 3: Epidemics and Pandemics: anticipating and responding to health crises

    1. impact of Covid-19
    2. opportunities and challenges for libraries, librarians and other information professionals
    3. transformation of health care
    4. innovation in response to pandemics and epidemics.

Sub-theme 4: Science- and Evidence-based Practice: incorporating best data and information to achieve improved health

    1. systematic reviews and/or bibliometric analysis
    2. knowledge management
    3. indigenous/local knowledge
    4. practice guidelines
    5. healthcare policy
    6. data science management.

Sub-theme 5: Sustainability: building structure and capacity for the future

    1. organisational or institutional infrastructure
    2. development of technology and related tools
    3. capacity building through education and training
    4. health literacy and health information literacy programmes.

Sub-theme 6: Current actions in response to SDGs

The ones already documented by the UN, WHO, UNESCO, IFLA, etc. should not be submitted.

Contributed Content

The ICML+AHILA 2021 welcomes proposals presenting practical and completed research works and other projects; lessons learned and future trends should be shared. All proposals should address one of the six sub-themes.


This call covers three types of format: Papers, Posters and Lightning talks. Proposals should specify the format. 

Other details

Abstracts should not be more than 300 words and should indicate the author(s), address, email, institutional affiliation (if any), the sub-theme and 3-5 keywords (see submission template below).  Please submit abstracts as an attachment in MS Word, font 12 Times New Roman, with the subject line ICML+AHILA 2021 abstract proposal to: Gracian Chimwaza <gracian@itoca.org> and copy to: Marcia Mabhula <marcia@itoca.org> not later than 16 November, 2020. Successful authors will be informed by 15th December 2020. 

Receipt of all submissions will be acknowledged. Please contact us if you do not receive an acknowledgement email within 10 days of submitting your abstract.

Submissions will be reviewed by the ICML+AHILA 2021 Programme Subcommittee members. 

First time paper/poster/lightning talk authors, mid-career and senior researchers/professionals are all encouraged to submit proposals.

At least one of the authors must be present to deliver a summary of the paper/poster or lightning talk during ICML+AHILA 2021. Abstracts should only be submitted with the understanding that the expenses of attending the conference will be the responsibility of the author(s)/presenter(s) of accepted papers, posters or lightning talks.

Dissemination routes

Full papers will be provided Online OA.


Depending on the COVID 19 situation, the Congress plans to have Blended presentations (both online and physical).

Submission template

Title of proposed paper, poster or

lightning talk

Name, position and/or titleEmployer/affiliated institutionContact details (phone, WhatsApp, email)
Short biographical statement(s) of authors
(max 100 words each author)
Sub-theme that best fits your proposed paper / poster / lightning talk 
Abstract of the proposed paper or lightning talk OR description of your poster
(max 300 words)
Keywords: (3 – 5) that describe the contents of your paper, poster or Lightning talk
Language of delivery / written language of paper, poster or Lightning talk Select option from: English, French or Portuguese
Online or blended delivery

Please indicate willingness to present your paper, poster or lightning talk either
i. purely online 

ii. blended (mix of face-to-face/physical and online delivery)

Partial Sponsorship

A limited number of bursaries will be made available to cover some of the congress-related expenses of authors whose papers, posters or lightning talks would have been selected. More information will be announced before the close of early bird registration.

Priority will be given to: (a) first time Congress presenters / individuals participating in their first international conference, whose papers, posters or lightning talk would have been selected. (b)  presenters from HINARI Group A and Group B countries whose papers, posters or lightning talks would have been selected. 

Important Deadlines

16 November 2020:  Deadline for papers, posters and lightning talk abstracts
15 December 2020: Deadline for notification to presenters
30 January 2021: Deadline for presenters to confirm attendance
01 February 2021: Early bird registration opens
31 March 2021:Deadline for early bird registration
30th April 2021: Deadline for final submission of papers, posters and Lightning talks