El Salvador, one of the countries that has been a member of the BIREME Advisory Committee from 2018 to 2020, expanded the collaborative actions with the Center through PAHO’s country office and national institutions, in order to support the dissemination and implementation of the Center’s products and services, which has been a constant recommendation of BIREME’s governance committees, both advisory and scientific.
During 2020, at the initiative of the Ministry of Health of El Salvador through the National Institute of Health, several actions were carried out, which began with a face-to-face mission of BIREME’s director, the Information Source Manager, and the Scientific Communication Coordinator. This visit was able to incentivize interest in strengthening the component of technical scientific information with the contribution of a network of cooperating centers, scientific societies, and academic institutions, among others.
This was followed by the reorganization of the National Health Information Network (RENIS) to revive the development of the Virtual Health Library (BVS-ES) in the country, ensuring that the research and scientific documents that the country produces are visible at the national, regional, and global levels. After hard and collaborative work, the virtual launch of the VHL was finally achieved on October 9, 2020. Deputy Minister of Health Management and Development Carlos Alvarenga accompanied by Roberto Garzón, representative of PAHO/WHO El Salvador, and Xochitl Sandoval, Director of the National Institute of Health (INS), participated, as well as Diego González, director of BIREME/PAHO/WHO.
The INS resumes the coordination and commitment to strengthen the El Salvador Virtual Health Library, which will make available, in one place, all the documented health management of the country, reference services and reliable information for professionals, students, and the general public.
Strengthening the Network
El Salvador’s National Health Information Network (RENIS) is made up of 37 representative cooperative centers in the area of health. Each cooperating center has delegated a manager who has been trained to contribute all the unconventional and educational documents of its respective institution, making them visible in LILACS, e-BlueInfo, and the Global Index Medicus.
Adding to the Virtual Library will count on the help of collaborating institutions such as the Medical College, the Specialized School of Engineering, the National Development Foundation, the Specialized Institute of Higher Education of Health Professionals of El Salvador, the Salvadoran Institute for the Development of Women, some units of the Ministry of Health, national hospitals, and universities.
Development of the National Database
Currently the national database has 221 documents in full text, giving visibility to the country’s health information, which will serve to share experiences in the region and bring elements to decision makers. The VHL also worked on the National Database Selection Criteria – BISSAL, which defines the scope of the database.
e-BlueInfo is implemented and released in El Salvador
The application that puts information for decision-making in clinical practice in Primary Health Care professionals’ hands, developed by BIREME, was implemented in El Salvador, in conjunction with the leadership of the Ministry of Health, initiating with information related to COVID-19. An online session on April 21, 2020, attended by the Ministry of Health, the leaders of the National Institute of Health, the PAHO/WHO Representative in the country, and the BIREME director and staff marked the launch of the implementation, which continues in development today.
BIREME Director Diego González said, “in 2021, El Salvador will continue to strengthen the scientific-technical information component and BIREME will contribute to increasing its capacities under the VHL Regional Plan, the e-BlueInfo Governance Committee, through training in scientific communication and stimulating the country’s incorporation into other regional products and services developed by BIREME, as part of the work that the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health develops in the country.”
According to Franklin Hernández, Acting Representative of PAHO El Salvador, “working together with BIREME on the important work to give visibility to the country’s scientific production, support evidence-based decision-making, and thus contribute to the work that the country develops to promote scientific research and strengthen the health information system, in support of the Ministry of Health, the National Institute of Health and other key national counterparts, has represented a very rewarding experience in seeing the achievements that are being generated.”
 BIREME Bulletin. El Salvador joins the e-BlueInfo health information application. Available from: https://boletin.bireme.org/en/2020/05/03/el-salvador-joins-the-e-blueinfo-health-information-application/