The 10th edition of the Regional Congress on Health Sciences Information (CRICS10), organized and carried out by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organizations (PAHO/WHO) through its specialized center BIREME, took place o December 4 to 6, 2018, in São Paulo, Brazil. The opening ceremony was attended by Dr. Carissa Etienne, PAHO/WHO Director, who emphasized the importance of the topic chosen for the event. “In these times of Sustainable Development Goals, access to information is a challenge for the scientific community”, pointed out Dr. Etienne, affirming that evidence and access to knowledge are essential for attaining the objectives of Agenda 2030 with equity.
Dr. Diego González, Director of BIREME, thanked Brazil for being the host country of the Congress, recognizing the contribution of the entities that compose the National Organizing Committee and of PAHO/WHO for the event’s success. “It is a space for exchange and learning, for strengthening our joint efforts […] we have an important commitment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as with the Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas 2018-2030 (ASSA 2030). Information, evidence and knowledge are cross cutting issues to both agendas”, stated Dr. González.
The organization of the Congress was supported by different Committees composed of representatives from national and international institutions. The institutions and organs of municipal, departmental and federal government, with which BIREME maintains historical institutional relations, integrate the National Organizing Committee, which played an important role in the organization and had many of its representatives participate as lecturers in the Congress. Representatives from the Brazilian Ministry of Health – one of the main institutional supporters of BIREME since it was founded in 1967 – from the Health Secretariat of the State and of the City of São Paulo, from the Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, and from the University of São Paulo, represented by the Public Health Faculty and the Medical School Faculty, as well as from institutions from fields related to health, such as sanitation, represented by the Companhia Ambiental do Estado de São Paulo (Cetesb) and the Fundação Nacional de Saúde (Funasa), executive organ of the Ministry of Health, and class associations, such as the Paulista Medical Association, all participated in the opening ceremony of the Congress.
Over 550 participants, representing 32 countries, and 26 lecturers and panelists from 12 countries were present at CRICS. Three master conferences were held. Cristina Luna, from the Ministry of Public Health of Ecuador, addressed the connection between knowing and doing in the countries of Latin America; Amanda Wilson, from the National Library of Medicine of the United States (NLM), spoke about the efforts of the National Health Institutes (NIH) of the U.S.A in terms of information management for health based on data and about quality health information for the general public; and Henrique Villa da Costa Ferreira, from the National Secretariat for Social Articulation from the Government Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil, presented the challenges faced to implement the 2030 Agenda in Brazil and the contributions that can be offered by science.
The Congress was built upon seven thematic axes, which provided discussion forums about knowledge management; open science; information management; innovation and digital health; intersectoral; informed policies, strategies and decisions; scientific research and communication and its applications for advancing research, education and health systems. The 7th Regional Coordination Meeting of the VHL (VHL7), the main face-to-face forum for discussing, evaluating and exchanging experiences on the VHL as a model, a strategy and a cooperative work sphere on scientific health information and communication, was held before the Congress, along with other satellite events, poster presentations, launching of new products and services and interviews with lecturers.