The Biennial Work Plan (BWP) of the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME) is guided by Programs and Budgets aligned to the Strategic Plan of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) which, in turn, is linked to the 2014-2019 General Work Program of the World Health Organization (WHO) through priority themes, to the 2030 Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas (ASSA2030), the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030), and the Health Agenda for the Americas. Moreover, the BWP considers the priorities of the Cooperation Strategies of the Countries of the Region, and the recommendations of the BIREME Governance Bodies – the Advisory and Scientific Committees.
In this sense, BIREME, as a PAHO/WHO Specialized Center on scientific and technical information and evidence in health, had its BWP (which includes the budget and work program for the 2018-2019 biennial) approved by PAHO/WHO Executive Management and PAHO Director in mid-2017, when the Center was still part of the then Office of Knowledge Management, Bioethics and Research (KBR).
According to the Center director, Diego González, “the beginning of a biennium offers an important time for PAHO/WHO planning, and this new biennium, particularly, is marked by important events, such as the reelection of Dr. Carissa Etienne for a new term in office (2018-2022) and a change in the Organization’s structure, by which BIREME now belongs to the newly created Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH) and the launch of the Sustainable Development Agenda for the Americas”.
Based on the analysis of the priorities aligned to BIREME’s organizational mission and goals, the Center’s director, managers and teams have come to a consensus on the Projects, Products and Services for the 2018-2019 biennium, grouped in four main initiatives that contribute and have an effective impact on Category 4.4 (Health Systems) and Intermediate Result 4.4.3 (Information and evidence in health systems) of PAHO/WHO 2014-2019 Strategic Plan:
- Information and Knowledge Management. It gathers management, update and operation activities of the Virtual Health Library (VHL) sources of information, such as LILACS, LIS, LEYES, DeCS, and Events Directory, in addition to activities to strengthen the VHL collaboration Network, to promote access and use of scientific and technical health information, to develop skills, communication and scientific writing, and to contribute toward Global Index Medicus (GIM), ProEthos, and other initiatives;
- Intelligence in Health Sciences Information. Its main goals are to strengthen the use of Health Sciences terminologies to support the organization and to exchange scientific and technical knowledge; to generate infometrics for the Latin American and Caribbean scientific and technical output published in LILACS; to develop retrieval tools for the VHL sources of information in a contextualized manner in health systems; and to publish national, theme-specific and regional profiles of the region’s scientific production;
- Information Services. It gathers development, management and operation activities of health information services aimed at facilitate access and use of the VHL, and contribute toward reducing the gap between scientific knowledge and practice in the field of health. This considers knowledge translation services (Blue Memory, Second Opinion and others), the personalized service “My VHL”, access service to the full text of documents, customer service for VHL users, and the improvement of the VHL search interface;
- BIREME Leadership and Management. It considers implementing the Center’s new organizational framework in accordance with the recommendations of its Governance Committees (Advisory and Scientific Committees), whose meetings are held twice a year with the presence of their respective members and appointed specialists from the countries of the Region. Moreover, keeping the effective operation of the Center in accordance with the recommendations, policies, procedures and processes of PAHO/WHO considering the administration of purchases and contracts, effective management, personnel development, travel and event management, provision of Information Technologies and facility infrastructure, and project monitoring support. Finally, it keeps effective organizational communication and supports the monitoring of BIREME 2018-19 BWP.
This structure with four initiatives that total up 36 Products and Services, in addition to 216 Activities and Tasks, will make it possible to serve the technical cooperation program and meet BIREME organizational management priorities for the current biennial period. It takes into account the constant improvement of its products and services already consolidated, such as the Virtual Health Library Network (VHL), LILACS (Latin-American Health Sciences Literature), DeCS (Health Sciences Descriptors) and technical and organizational events like the 7th edition of the VHL Coordination Meeting (VHL7) and the 10th edition of the Regional Congress on Health Sciences Information (CRICS10).
PAHO/WHO Strategic Planning
The 2018-2019 Work Plan of the Pan-American Health Organization is a biennial program, designed to support the implementation of the Organization’s Strategic Plan whose current version was defined for the 2014-2019 period. The Strategic Plan addresses in detail the socio-economic context of the Region, together with the health authorities of the countries, as well as the improvements in the health status of the countries and the gaps in attaining the goals of intermediate results in health, and the prevailing and emerging public health issues.
With the aim of complying with the Organization’s mandates and supporting the countries of the Region that are member states of PAHO/WHO in the attainment of the six-year goals set forth in the Strategic Plan, PAHO’s work is organized in 6 (six) categories and 30 (thirty) programmatic areas, and the 9 (nine) impact goals and the 30 (thirty) intermediate results of the Strategic Plan remain the same along the six-year term of the Plan. PAHO continues to consolidate its focus on result-based management (RBM) to design plans, programs, budgets, and to monitor performance.
For an efficient control of the implementation of the Work Plan, results of the products and services developed by Country Offices and Specialized Centers are assessed through six-monthly indicator goals. At the end of each six-month period, a report with the status of the results (Performance Monitoring Assessment, PMA) obtained in each of the indicators by each of the members is generated, and the results attained by the Organization in each Biennial Work Plan are shared, also feeding the reports that assess the performance of the Organization, as a whole.
Lastly, the final results of the biennial are submitted to the review of the health authorities of the countries to reflect the advances in health, identify opportunities, recognize challenges and lessons learned, to keep them on focus, and so they are included in the efforts and mechanisms of organizational strategic planning for the entire Region.