BIREME Bulletin n° 40

The PAHO/WHO Cross Cutting Themes are reflected in BIREME’s products

The collective priorities of the member states of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization and the results to be achieved in the public health field are addressed in the Organization’s strategic plans for six years, and the 2020-2025 plan constitutes the principal tool to implement the Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas 2018-2030 (SHAA2030) and, therefore, achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Region of the Americas.

During the period covered by the PAHO/WHO Strategic Plan 2020-2025, technical cooperation will be provided to countries to help integrate approaches related to PAHO’s transversal issues, since the Strategic Plan recognizes that to achieve the Organization’s objectives it is essential to adopt equitable approaches to healthcare, and that take into account gender and cultural characteristics with regard to human rights. To achieve this objective, the plan is based on four transversal themes: Equity, Gender, Ethnicity, and Human Rights.

The definition of these cross-cutting themes means that, independent of the level in which we work at the Organization, whether in a chapter, a center, at the headquarters, at the subregional or Regional level, our actions must include these approaches, which is why BIREME, as the Organization’s specialized center for issues in scientific and technical health information, developed products and services specific for these axes, detailed below.

Health Sciences Descriptors – DeCS/MeSH

decs_ejesBetween 2018 and 2019, BIREME worked with specialists in the cross-cutting themes to identify, collect and structure the vocabulary of the terminology used in the scientific literature on these topics. As a result of this effort, DeCS received 29 new descriptors in Gender, 31 in Equity, 19 in Human Rights and 39 in Ethnicity. The extension of terminological coverage on the cross-cutting themes is essential for the organization, retrieval and use of information and scientific evidence.[1],[2]

Windows of Knowledge

Window of knowledges were developed for the cross-cutting themes of Gender, Ethnicity, Equity and Human Rights, with the objective of giving visibility and access to reference documents and other information resources on each of the themes.

Windows of Knowledge are sources of information that can be accessed from the VHL regional portal. The process of building the window of knowledge begins with a mapping of the reference documentation available on the PAHO/WHO websites and official bodies working on the topic at hand. After this stage, a document is sent with the information collected to the specialized professionals, who review the content and contribute with new indications and with the structuring of the main themes associated with the main topic of the window of knowledge.

ejes_vitrina_enBased on these indications, searches are carried out on the scientific and technical documents available in the more than 40 Virtual Health Library (VHL) databases. This result generates a filter that is available for consultation by researchers, professionals and administrators. Then, the creation of the window of knowledge, a web page, personalized and “alive”, begins, with the inclusion of all these components that can be updated according to demand or with the inclusion of new documents.

The cross-axis presentations are connected to each other so that the information user has the scope of the topics covered.

Indicators of scientific and technical production on the cross-cutting themes

Based on the documents retrieved from LILACS on the cross-cutting themes and available in the Knowledge Window of knowledges, panels of infometric indicators were developed to analyze data on the origin and subjects of the documents, in addition to identifying the researchers and institutions that publish on these topics, allowing access to its publications available at LILACS based on the indicators.


Source: PAHO/WHO Strategic Plan 2020-2025. 57th Governing Board. 71st Session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Americas. 2019. Available at:


[1] DeCS 2018 is available online. BIREME/PAHO/WHO Bulletin n° 20, São Paulo, May 28, 2018.  Available from: <>. Access on: 23 Jan. 2020.

[2] Searching with DeCS terms is a guarantee of best outcomes. BIREME/PAHO/WHO Bulletin n° 34, São Paulo, Jul 28 2019. Available from:  < > Access on Jan 23, 2020.

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