The year of 2018 was particularly prolific for BIREME, which continues to strengthen its institutional presence in the Region through technical cooperation projects, as well as through its products and services in scientific and technical health information and innovative launches.
During a considerable part of the year, the technical and administrative teams of the Center dedicated themselves to the organization and execution of the 10th edition of the Regional Congress on Health Sciences Information – CRICS10 and to the 7th Coordination Meeting of the Virtual Health Library – VHL7 (see the full coverage of the event in the BIREME Bulletin nº27). Nonetheless, noteworthy advances were made in all areas, which will be summarized here.
To celebrate the end of the year and the typical celebrations of the season, BIREME organized a social activity with collaborators in mid-December. At the occasion, the Director and the managers presented the main outcomes achieved in 2018 and the challenges for the future.
Administrator Silvia de Valentin reported the main outcomes for BIREME in 2018 from the administrative point of view, highlighting the visit of members of the PAHO/WHO Executive Management: the new Joint Director, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa da Silva (in August) and the PAHO/WHO Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne (in December). Meetings were held by BIREME’s Governance Committees – the VII Session of the Advising Committee (in November) and the IV Session of the Scientific Committee (in December).
Silvia also recalled that the Center was a pioneer in the usage of open spaces, and that the video “Open Spaces”, published on the Organization´s Learning Platform, is being watched by Country Representations and has received recognition from Headquarters. Also in the sphere of institutional strengthening, it is important to recall the visit of the Managers to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) of the United States, during which they were received by the Director of the institution. This visit was important for the participation of the NLM in CRICS10/VHL7.
The monitoring of the Biannual Work Plan 18-19 developments, aligned to the strategic priorities of the Organization, is effectuated every semester with the Center’s technical and administrative teams in a joint effort with PAHO Headquarters. Likewise, monthly meetings are held to monitor and manage projects and conventions.
It is important to emphasize activities for the development of skills, such as the Training Program for Building High Performance Teams, which was given to all collaborators by the company Catalisar, the EIH Online Workshop developed by PAHO Headquarters and the Workday Rising Workshop 2018, during which BIREME was represented by its Administrator, Silvia de Valentin.
The Manager of Information Sources and Services, Verônica Abdala, pointed out the activities carried out with the countries that make up the Virtual Health Library (VHL) Network and associated networks, such as the Latin American Literature on Health Sciences (LILACS). The teams continue to focus on online network training programs, with the objective of increasing registrations on the LILACS database, as well as on the development of and support for VHL instances, with focus on updates, renovation and elaboration of new portals. The online course on access and use of health sciences information in Spanish and Portuguese, the online courses on neglected diseases, the presence and virtual participation in meetings and consulting committees of VHL instances, and the missions in Brazil and in the Region for strengthening technical cooperation and the development of new projects and partnerships are all noteworthy.
The VHL institutional portal was remodeled and displays a new design and information architecture, having reached 9 million access sessions in 2018 (41 million pages visualized).
The Methodology and Information Technology area, led by Renato Murasaki, presented the projects it coordinates with institutional supporters of BIREME, institutions and country Offices, Regional PAHO/WHO departments and with the World Health Organization. The projects Global Index Medicus, Virtual Campus for Public Health, the Regional Database of Health Technology Assessment Reports in the Americas (BRISA), Second Formative Opinion (SOF) and Health Legislation are highlights among these projects. Murasaki noted the extension of DeCS with terms related to equity in health, the applications e-BlueInfo, CRICS10 and MyVHL.
The field of Scientific Communication, led by Dr. Lilian Calò, training courses were carried out at the Escola Tocantinense do SUS in Palmas-To, Brazil, within the framework of Cooperation Term 94 among PAHO Brazil and the State Secretariat of Health of Tocantins; at PAHO Office in Haiti, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and in Bogotá, Colombia, within the framework of technical cooperation with the LA&C countries. Throughout the year, Dr. Lilian was invited by Brazilian institutions to participate in several conferences on scientific communication.
According to Dr. Diego González, Director, “2018 was a year of many achievements for BIREME, of institutional strengthening, technical cooperation with the countries of the Region with emphasis on priority countries, of learning and joint work with our network of cooperating institutions. The result of this work is a stronger and repositioned BIREME in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as a series of new and innovative products and services, many of which were launched during CRICS10”.
It is relevant to note that BIREME received the Outstanding Team Award in recognition to collaborators for the outcomes achieved in 2017.