‘Health in the Americas’ is the most relevant publication of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), designed to generate, compile, analyze and report information in health. It has been uninterruptedly published since 1956.
Throughout its history, several topics have been addressed, considering the social, environmental, political or technical factors that interfered in the health conditions of the population of the Americas. However, the more recent issues included some aspects related to future forecasts and visions, which would impact on or guide the informed or evidence-based decision-making processes in the field of Public Health. Hence, the 2017 edition, entitled “Health in the Americas+”, brings a future vision that will allow defining actions to strengthen the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). One of these actions was named “Public Health in the Information Society” and shows how important it is for health organizations to consider, among other factors, the five strategic guiding principles: 1) Promoting Open Science, 2) Using Open Data that respect peoples’ privacy and confidentiality, 3) Processing non-structured data, 4) Constant renewing human resources competences in healthcare, and 5) Convergence with Electronic Government initiatives.
Due to the massive expansion – almost with no control – of the Internet contents on health, it is crucial today, more than ever, to cooperate with the countries in the “improvement of national capacities and infrastructures for management, organization, indexing, preservation, dissemination and access to information, knowledge and scientific evidence, tuned with the development of new corresponding methodologies and technologies.” For this reason, BIREME was established in 1957, and these have been its objectives in its 50-year history as a PAHO/WHO Specialized Center.
Thus, on July 26, 2017, in collaboration with the Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analyses (CHA), BIREME developed the first webinar of a series that the Organization intends to implement in order to announce the publication of the “Health in the Americas+, 2017 Edition” to all its audiences. The event was attended by PAHO teams from many countries.
Dr. Francisco Becerra Posada, Assistant Director of PAHO/WHO, and Dr. Diego González, Director of BIREME, opened the ceremony. The event had two keynote lectures: one given by Dr. Manuel Pena, Technical Coordinator of the publication, who presented the PAHO/WHO vision about the “Health in the Americas+, 2017 Edition”. The second speaker, Mr. Marcelo D’Agostino, Special Advisor of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, addressed the topic “Public Health in Information Society.” A questions & answers session was held after the lectures, and was moderated by BIREME staff.
The tradition, experience and leadership of BIREME, strengthened by the support of a network of health sciences information organizations and specialized professionals, will play a key role for PAHO/WHO member countries to achieve the SDGs.
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