BIREME Bulletin n° 10

CARPHA EvIDeNCe and MEDCARIB stood out in events in Trinidad & Tobago

On June 20 and 21st, 2017, Marcia Barretto (ITI/GA) represented the Latin-American and Caribbean Center for Health Sciences Information (BIREME), in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, in the meeting “Regional consultation to develop a knowledge sharing mechanism for non-communicable diseases and vectorborne diseases for CARPHA Member States”. The event was attended by representatives from Anguilla, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts & Nevis, and Trinidad & Tobago. In this meeting they discussed specifically the selection criteria for relevant documents to support decision-making on NCD and VBD, harvesting processes for such documents, and a sustainability model for CARPHA EvIDeNCe portal.


On June 22nd, a workshop was held at the library of the Faculty of Medical Sciences – University of West Indies, in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, with the goal of revitalizing the database MEDCARIB, which is a cooperative product of the Caribbean English-speaking countries participating in the MEDCARIB Network. Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago were present.

The representatives of the Virtual Health Library Trinidad & Tobago (VHL TT) met on the 23rd to discuss the current situation and possible short-term and medium-term alternatives for its revitalization and sustainability mechanisms.

These actions are within the context of the project between BIREME and CARPHA for the development of CARPHA EvIDeNCe Portal, considering the strengthening of MEDCARIB Network members, which includes two PAHO/WHO priority countries: Guyana and Suriname.

About CARPHA EvIDeNCe Portal

The CARPHA EvIDeNCe Portal is a continuously updated repository of research results, syntheses, and relevant documents for Caribbean public policies. The portal includes clinical research, investigation on population health and health systems, but excludes basic/biomedical research. The types of syntheses included are abstracts on public policy evidence, brief syntheses, overview of systematic reviews, systematic reviews, and economic evaluations. The policy relevant documents originate from CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency), CARPHA Member States and the World Health Organization. The EvIDeNCe portal also includes a guided overview of Caribbean data sources, pre-appraised research evidence and other types of information, tools, resources and training material to support evidence-based decision-making.

  • Another important piece of the health and medical information landscape for the Caribbean is the need to build, provide, and maintain an online, regionally/ globally accessible, registry/database for the various infectious and non-infectious disease statistics. Some efforts have been attempted in silos, in private institutions, and government health departments, for a few diseases. To mention one example is the effort in Nevis of establishing a local cancer registry. However, any such important health statistics that may have been gathered by various organizations functioning in the Caribbean are not widely accessible, searchable, fed into a regional electronic database, or easily available to potential researchers. A Caribbean wide initiative and collaboration to see the establishment of a Caribbean Disease Registry is called for. Coupled with a regionally determined formulation of what statistics are required for a comprehensive understanding and window on the state of health in the Caribbean. Ideally such an initiative would work within the framework of the existing regional bodies such as CARPHA, PAHO, UWI Medical School, etc., One of the best groups to spearheaded such an initiative, I would suggest, would be this same MedCARIB group. MedCARIB is a cooperative body made up of interested and like-minded information professionals from around the English-speaking Caribbean and who work in many different types of organizations (educational, governmental, public health, healthcare, etc.). They are already experts in database building, information searching, and providing medical reference and information support for health research. Perhaps a discussion around this topic could take place at the next CARPHA conference in St. Kitts in 2018.

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