The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in conjunction with the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences information of Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (BIREME/PAHO/WHO) and the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of the West Indies are the institutions behind the CARPHA EvIDeNCe Portal that have been developed as a way to make published and grey literature to support decision making in the Caribbean easily available and accessible.
The Portal designed primarily to meet the needs of the health professionals, at all levels, health system stakeholders, researchers, students and librarians, besides CARPHA staff, is built on three existing resources:
- the Virtual Health Library (VHL) which is regionally coordinated by BIREME/PAHO/WHO, that provides both a very powerful search engine and a remarkably diverse array of published and grey literature;
- MedCarib’s interface for uploading published and grey literature to a database already contained in the VHL (which includes all literature on which at least one Caribbean researcher is involved as an author); and
- a guided overview of Caribbean information sources, pre-appraised research evidence, other types of information, and tools to support evidence-informed decision-making.
In a recently conducted user survey, the respondents strongly agreed/agreed that they were satisfied with the portal’s design and layout (89%); 63% strongly agreed/ agreed that they would use the portal frequently; and 85% strongly agreed/agreed that using the portal would enhance their jobs effectiveness.
A representative of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of the West Indies currently coordinates the MedCarib Network that started in 1989 using LILACS Methodology and gathering 17 participating countries. The aim of the MEDCARIB Network has been to strengthen and improve the health information system in the English-speaking Commonwealth Caribbean and other interested countries in the region, for enhancing teaching, research and health-care capabilities of health professionals and researchers, by making it possible for them to have easy and quick accessibility to indexed literature at the computerized sub-regional Caribbean network in coordination with BIREME/PAHO/WHO.
In the scope of the development of CARPHA EvIDeNCe Portal, during a recently completed survey, the respondents indicated that the following document types were most frequently identified by the respondents as those they would like to see included in the portal in the future: Government policies (81.4%); Government legislation (70.37%); and Situation analyses (66.67%). A project to expand the scope of documents available to users will be pursued ahead of CARPHA EvIDeNCe Portal.