In order to maintain effective communication with the members of the Advisory Committee (AC) and share partial information on the progress made on the recommendations from its members at the VIII Session held in October 2019, BIREME/PAHO/WHO organized an Ad Hoc online Session of the AC on July 30, 2020. On the occasion, the implementation situation of the recommendations from the VIII Session and the challenges in the development of the 2020-2021 Biannual Work Plan (BWP 20-21) during the COVID-19 global pandemic was presented, as well as obtaining recommendations to overcome them.
The online Ad Hoc Session welcomed Sebastián Garcia Saiso, Director of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH), who also presented the objectives of the meeting, emphasizing the important role played by BIREME’s governance committees in offering recommendations to the Director of PAHO/WHO on the Centre’s sustainability, institutionality and technical cooperation.
Next, Diego González, Director of BIREME and the Committee’s Secretary ex-officio , presented the state of implementation of the recommendations of the VIII Session of the Committee held, at the time, at the Center facilities. Furthermore, he showed the main developments of BIREME’s products and services in information and knowledge management and communication and scientific and technical health information.
In order to broaden the reflections and get to know the considerations of the members in such a challenging context, the Director of BIREME, supported by his management and technical team, shared the main current challenges of BIREME’s management and operation to implement its mission to democratize access to information when all countries in the Region are focused on responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic:
- Reduce gaps and expand its financing sources;
- Mobilize technical cooperation projects with countries in the region;
- Formalize the annual contribution of the Government of Brazil for BIREME’s improvement;
- Continue to support the countries of the region in responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic;
- Take effective actions to promote products and services to the entire region;
- Foster participation in Global, Regional, Sub-regional and Inter programmatic projects; and
- Implement the Financial Resources Mobilization Plan.
The participating members, then, had the opportunity to make comments and ask questions to the BIREME’s Director and staff, who followed the entire session, and were unanimous in highlighting and acknowledging the number of new developments and updates carried out in just one semester since the VIII session of the AC.
Carlos Enrique Hernández Ávila and Graciela Fernández Fortete from the Ministries of Health of El Salvador and Uruguay, respectively, once again stressed the importance of actions to disseminate and communicate BIREME’s products and services in the countries of the region, so that their different actors can also, besides using products and services, identify and share opportunities for BIREME’s participation in funded initiatives and projects.
Rodrigo dos Santos Santana (DEAMB/SESAI/MS) and Shirlei Corrêa Rodrigues (CGDI/SAA/SEMS) considered continuing to support actions to formalize activities with BIREME and were emphatic about its relevance and the information and knowledge management model it has developed, the Virtual Health Library (VHL), its networks, information sources and associated services, for the dissemination of scientific and technical health information, in coordination with the Ministry of Health of Brazil. Shirlei also shared the importance and relevance of developments in the context of Term of Cooperation 95 with PAHO/WHO Brazil, in which BIREME participates.
It is also noteworthy that the members of Barbados and Guyana were connected, but could not provide recommendations, due to Internet connection issues, however, they will have the opportunity to comment and send their considerations when they receive the meeting’s summary report.
At the end of the Ad Hoc Session, the EIH Director acknowledged the members’ contributions and comments and stressed the importance of implementing the recommendations made, then, also recognizing the participation of everyone, the Director of BIREME ended the session by announcing that the Sessions of the BIREME’s Governance Committees, scheduled for the second half of 2020, will be announced shortly.
Participating members of the Ad Hoc Session, who are the members of the VIII Session of the BIREME AC (countries in alphabetical order):
- Brazil – represented by Rodrigo dos Santos Santana, Director, Department of Environmental Determinants of Indigenous Health, Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health, Ministry of Health; and Shirlei Corrêa Rodrigues, General Coordinator of Documentation and Information, Sub Secretary for Administrative Affairs, Executive Secretariat, Ministry of Health
- Barbados – represented by Reeshemah Cheltenham-Nile, Head of Health Planning, Ministry of Health and Welfare
- El Salvador – represented by Carlos Enrique Hernández Ávila, Research Coordinator in Health Determinants, National Institute of Health, Ministry of Health
- Guyana – represented by Kay Shako, Director, Regional Health Services, Ministry of Public Health
- Uruguay – represented by Graciela Fernández Fortete, Deputy Technical Medical Director of Management Assessment, National Resources Fund, Ministry of Health.