Where did the idea of MEDBOX come from?

It all started during an UN-organised Health Cluster Meeting in Myanmar in 2008. During a discussion concerning the sharing of information many participants observed that they were struggling to access WHO guidelines and other practical guidelines, although internet access was not a problem. That was the moment when the Medical Mission Institute in Wuerzburg had the idea of creating an open-access website where all the relevant health documents are collected and readily available for everyone and everywhere. Finally, in October 2013, the vision became reality and MEDBOX went online.

The MEDBOX team of the Medical Mission Institute received support by over a dozen internationally active humanitarian and development organizations to start this innovative project. In December 2015, two years after its launch, the MEDBOX has had over 1.800.000 views and over 1.400.000 downloads.

Do I need to pay user fees?

No, MEDBOX is free of charge and follows the strategy of open access.

If it is for free, what is the advantage of registering with MEDBOX?

Registered users have access to individualised tools such as creating own favourites in their individualised folder structure. The registration is free of charge. The additional information that you will have to fill out is being treated confidentially according to German data protection law and is used by the administrators to better understand the user profiles, allowing to cater for the registered users interests and professional foci.

How is MEDBOX financed?

MEDBOX is an independent platform providing information free of charge. We are dependent on your financial support for the continuous management and quality assurance of the website. Please support us to continue this project! 

Is the homepage available in other languages?

Although MEDBOX was set up in English, the documents hosted here are available in many languages. MEDBOX wants to make a special effort to collate information, educational and communication material in local languages (such as health education posters). Having said this, we are planning to add more languages for the homepage and the search function at a later stage.

How do you assess which materials are suitable to go into MEDBOX and which ones are not?

Apart from the most common documents used by experts around the world we have a constantly growing group of experts for each technical subgroup of documents, who screen and approve the relevance of documents. Users have the option to rank (and later comment on) the relevance of the documents. Additionally, the transparent statistics of clicks and downloads are a helpful tool for new users to observe what other users look at.

How up-to-date are the documents in MEDBOX?

The MEDBOX team ensures a weekly screening of new online publications. One of our main roles is to establish open communication channels and share knowledge and information with our partners to ensure that the highest quality of medical information is being made available. The close cooperation with the library of the Medical Mission Institute helps to screen and find the latest documents.

Is MEDBOX designed only for health professionals?

MEDBOX is targeting national and international actors of health action in humanitarian assistance and development contexts alike. This includes governmental and non-governmental institutions and their employees. It is also directed towards teachers and learners.

Users of MEDBOX are e.g. responsible persons of the ‘provincial disaster committee’ and the regional health cluster in the Pakistani Region Balochistan dealing with flood relief; the cluster team of the ministry of health in Bangladesh after a cyclone; or the medical team of a ‘community based organisation’ (CBO) in Zimbabwe dealing with cholera cases or epidemic typhoid.

Is MEDBOX merely a data collection for academics or is it also accessible for, say, community health workers?

MEDBOX is designed for all people working in the context of health. Everyone with interest in improving quality of their health related work is a potential user. This includes community health workers at all levels as well as decision makers at political level.

Reports say that a high ratio of potential users e.g. in Africa or after a natural catastrophe don’t have internet access to start with, so how useful is MEDBOX really?

A growing number of internet users access this medium through their mobile smartphones. MEDBOX can be used on Smartphones and tablets, and the option to save documents in the favourites “MY OWN MEDBOX” will allow saving documents of interest without the necessity of downloading on the spot. An App Version will allow offline access of these documents.

How can I support MEDBOX?


What can I find in the MEDBOX and how is it structured?

The MEDBOX is comprised of 6 main categories and a collection of toolboxes on specific topics. The six main categories are:

Key resources

This category contains basic documents on topics such as WASH and Hospital Hygiene, Food Security and Nutrition, Humanitarian Aid, Disaster Preparedness, as well as information on how to conduct Needs assessments, how to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate projects (for this purpose check the subcategories Project Cycle Management, Quality Control & Assurance and Monitoring & Evaluation). Furthermore, you can find here relevant documents to Emergency Health Kits and Training Manuals.

Clinical guidelines

Modern medical guidelines are based on the examination of current evidence and aim at guiding decisions regarding the prevention, management and treatment of specific diseases. The MEDBOX database provides guidelines and recommendations on best practice in health care and management of Communicable and Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and other medical fields such as Paediatrics, Gynaecology & Obstetrics, Mental Health, Surgery & Anaesthesia, Internal Medicine, Dental Care and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

Women & Child Health

The category covers important topics like Child Health, Maternal Health and Reproductive Health, including documents related to pregnancy, newborn care, breastfeeding, contraception, etc.

Pharmacy & Technologies

The management of pharmaceuticals is an important part of public health and a fundamental component of both modern and traditional medicines. To promote the safety, effectiveness, good quality and rational use of medicines, the MEDBOX has collected useful material that can be used by pharmacists and medical practitioners around the world. The topics covered in this category include Essential Medicines Lists, Quality Assurance, Rational Use of Medicines, Drug Safety & Pharmacovigilance, Antimicrobial Resistance of Antibiotics, Substandard and Counterfeit Medicines, Pharmaceutical Supply Chain, Medicines Donations, Pharmaceutical Assessments, Laboratory Technologies and Waste Management.

Public Health

The focus of public health lies on the improvement of health and quality of life through prevention and treatment of diseases and other physical and mental health conditions. This category incorporates interdisciplinary approaches to Primary Health Care, Disease Prevention and Control, Health Care Financing, Epidemiology, Community and Public Health and Climate Change related topics. Additionally, it contains useful documents for the care of elderly people and people with disabilities, as well as to Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation and Traditional Treatment.


In this category you will find country-specific information such as treatment guidelines, public health policies, essential drug lists, community health information, IEC material etc.


The toolboxes are a specialized feature of the MEDBOX allowing rapid access to one particular context or topic. In response to some acute crises, toolboxes such as the Cholera Toolbox or the Syria Toolbox were created to increase the access to high quality materials like guidelines, practical tools or manuals related to the specific country or crisis. The Ebola Toolbox for example was generated as early as April 2014, comprising all publicly available disease-specific documents to ease access for the teams on the ground. So far, over 700 documents relating to Ebola were collected making this Toolbox the most comprehensive collection of hands-on, ready-to use documents in the whole internet.

How do I search for useful documents on the MEDBOX?

There are three ways to search for documents on the MEDBOX.

For one thing, you can browse through the main six categories and the toolboxes to find relevant documents to general topics such as for example Child & Women Health or Pharmacy.

For a more specific search you can use the search function of the MEDBOX: use the search bar on the start page to type in the terms you are looking for (e.g. “vector control” or “Sphere Handbook” etc.) and find documents in ALL categories and toolboxes. If you click first on one of the categories and then use the search bar, your search will be conducted only within this specific category. E.g. go to Clinical Guidelines and then type “Malaria” in the search bar to find clinical guidelines on the management and treatment of malaria.

Within the toolboxes you can also refine your search to select documents in a specific language or to sort your search results by Title, Number of Views, Number of Downloads, Rating or Year of Publication.

The third way to find documents in the MEDBOX is by using the link to the SITEMAP at the bottom of every page. It gives an overview over the hierarchical structure of the MEDBOX with all the categories and subcategories included. This way, it is clearly visible that for example under the category Key Resources there is a subcategory on WASH &Hospital Hygiene which contains documents on “Hand Hygiene”. You can then click on the link to go directly to the list of documents related to hand hygiene. 


Our website and its contents are subject to Federal Copyright Law. Unless expressly permitted by law (§ 44a of the copyright law, Urheberrechtsgesetz, UrhG), every form of utilising, reproducing or processing works subject to copyright protection on our website requires the prior consent of the respective owner of the rights. Individual reproductions of a work are allowed only for private use and must not serve either directly or indirectly, commercial activities. MMI and MEDBOX follow the philosophy of creative commons licencing and open access.