In 2019, the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME) completed 53 years of uninterrupted work on behalf of the democratization of access, publication, and use of scientific information, knowledge, and evidence; a fact that is always celebrated and recognized by all its staff, especially during the end-of-year celebrations.
So, on December 10, all employees gathered to celebrate BIREME’s achievements and key results of 2019. The program included presentations by the Director, Diego Gonzalez Manchín, the Managers, Silvia Almeida de Valentin (Administrative Manager), Carmen Verônica Abdala (Information Sources Production/Cooperative Information Services), and Renato Muraski (Information Methodologies and Technologies/Database Administration), as well as recreational and integrative activities, such as tournaments, free dance, and a white elephant gift exchange.
It is worth noting that the celebration was organized with contributions from everyone who was responsible for the decorations, for the plate donations and refreshments that composed the menu, and the presents exchanged, such that no cost was generated for BIREME. This is due to the fact that the Organization as a whole is imbued in the joint effort to reduce costs in the Central Office, as well as in each country.
The Director, Diego Gonzalez, highlighted the recent approval by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) of the 2020-2021 Biennial Work Plan (BWP 20-21) and highlighted the technical cooperation projects with the Ministry of Health, the São Paulo Municipal Health Secretariat, the National Health Foundation (FUNASA), and the National Council of Health Secretariats (CONASS), among others; working with PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centers, missions to countries in the Region, with emphasis on key countries such as Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Bolivia. He also presented a synthesis of the actions regarding institutional communication and scientific communication, highlighting the launch of the online Course in scientific communication, which at that time had more than two thousand people registered and 450 approved. The 2019 meetings of the BIREME Governance Committees were also highlighted, with special emphasis on the selection of new members of the Scientific Committee for the 2020-2022 period. Continuity of integration activities such as monthly “Café com Ideias” (Coffee with Ideas) and biweekly workplace calisthenics were also mentioned, and a special thanks were given to BIREME managers and staff.
Following, Silvia de Valentin (GA) highlighted the key actions undertaken by the Administrative and Planning Management in six topics: 1. BIREME operation ensured and aligned with its PAHO/WHO institutional framework, policies and procedures; 2. Effective cash flow management of BIREME considering the monitoring of general operating and personnel expenses, and the inflows of resources; 3. Support in the management of BIREME agreements and projects, in particular TCs 93 and 95 with the MS reinforcing the holding of two monthly meetings with the Director, Managers, and Project leaders to monitor all projects under development; 4. Contribute to negotiations, projects and initiatives with national and international counterparts, in particular with the Executive Secretariats and Primary Health Care of the Ministry of Health; 5. Participation in meetings and trips for the institutional alignment of BIREME; and 6. Dashboard with all processes related to the operation of BIREME, such as Percentage of Financial Implementation, Purchase Orders, Contracts, Travel and calls for IT Infrastructure services, among others. Silvia also recognized the professionalism, dedication, and competence of the Administrative Management team, in coordination and effective communication with the Executive Management and Technical Areas throughout the year.
Carmen Verônica Abdala (PFI/SCI) summarized the results of her area, highlighting the new LILACS portal, which was launched on its 34th year of existence and remains the most important space to give visibility to the scientific and technical production of Latin America and the Caribbean, now with new features, such as the Journal Evaluation Platform, network coordination meetings, and others. She also highlighted the Knowledge Showcases because the model is being replicated by other countries, such as Colombia and Paraguay. The work with evidence maps was highlighted, and the Virtual Health Library (VHL), National and Regional networks (EnfAméricas, Traditional Medicine, Complementary and Integrative Americas and MEDCarib) were also highlighted, as well as the reactivation of initiatives like ePORTUGUÊSe and EVIPNet Americas, the new interface of the VHL Regional Portal and the integration of new databases with VHL Information Sources such as the GRADE International Guidance Base, and the Evidence-Informed Policies initiative, among others.
Renato Murasaki (AFI/MTI) innovated in his presentation, referring to the 2019 results as the sum of the monthly partial results presented at the Coffee with Ideas meetings, where reference was made to the 2019 releases, such as the Global Index Medicus (GIM), the VHL Information and Knowledge Network, progress with the MyVHL and e-BlueInfo applications, among others. Renato presented in numbers the results of his area, such as updated technology platforms, source update events, issues registered on the GitHub platform, technical support occurrences, database processing, new descriptors in health sciences, among others. This data provides a general idea of the workload of the team of developers and terminology experts in 2019, which contributes to the development of BIREME’s projects, products and services.
Finally, Diego Gonzalez Machín stressed that the results presented involved everyone’s work and that this is only possible thanks to the teamwork that characterizes BIREME, as well as a strong and united management team. Once this message was reinforced, he asked for everyone’s attention to project a video with photos of the collaborators participating in internal and external events, meetings with counterparts, official trips, trainings and others. The video brought to an end the formal part of the program, delivered with the pride and joy felt on belonging to the BIREME team.
The year 2019 also brings to an end the 2018-2019 biennium, which was very rich in results, challenges met and goals achieved. The new biennium presupposes the continuity of the Centre’s lines of work and greater challenges in terms of innovation and financial sustainability, which will certainly count on the hard work, commitment and professionalism of BIREME’s employees and leaders to carry out its mission, ever more strengthened.