Considering that access to and use of scientific evidence is essential to support health-related decisions and interventions, the workshop “Search for Evidence for Interventions in Collective Health” was held on July 27 and 28, organized by the PAHO/WHO Representation and the Ministry of Public Health of the Dominican Republic in partnership with BIREME. The workshop, aimed at technicians and managers associated with the country’s Ministry of Public Health and the academic sector, was facilitated by Verônica Abdala, Manager of Services and Sources of Information at BIREME, with the collaboration of Elisabeth Biruel and Rosemeire Pinto, librarian in the area of Services and Attention to Users.
The introduction of the event was done by Michelle Jiménez, PAHO/WHO National Consultant in the Dominican Republic, who stated: “I am honored to open this event, representing the local PAHO. This afternoon, let’s say we will work on a common concept and criterion, to be able to empower ourselves, from the differences in perspectives with which we work, to be able to do a good search, but also to be able to make good use of evidence to make relevant and pertinent decisions. We are different actors, from different positions, but are all involved in a multilateral, interdisciplinary project, collaborating towards the same purpose”. Likewise, Roger Montes, Consultant in the area of Knowledge Management in the PAHO Office, highlighted the importance of equitable access to useful and relevant evidence for public policies, which also contributes to the determination of priority lines of health research, bringing the academy closer to management.
Also present at the opening of the Workshop, BIREME’s Director Diego González stated, “I would like to congratulate PAHO Dominican Republic for organizing this activity that is aligned with our institutional mission, to work to democratize access to information and evidence for decision-making in health. This is a work that BIREME has been doing for 53 years, since it was founded. We strive to help countries, we work with and for countries, always through PAHO/WHO representations, so I want to say that I am very proud, and I hope that the knowledge shared in this workshop can be replicated in many other spaces.”The objectives of the workshop were presented by Verônica Abdala: to develop a set of competencies to access and use information in health, strengthen the use of scientific evidence for decision-making in health, and share experiences of searching for and using scientific information.
In the schedule of the first day of the workshop, the concept of scientific evidence, the types of research, the main sources of evidence in health, the importance of information and the search for evidence to inform different options to face issues were the topics discussed.
The second day addressed the basic resources and tools for research, the instruments for evaluating scientific evidence and the services of the Virtual Health Library (VHL) to support decision-making. During the workshop, the participants were divided into three working groups, each accompanied by one of BIREME’s facilitators, working on the topics chosen by the organizers: Maternal mortality, Sequelae due to post-acute COVID-19, and Diabetes mellitus.
For Veronica Abdala, facilitating the Workshop virtually when this activity would have been commonly held in person, before the COVID-19 pandemic, was a great challenge. However, there was no lack of motivation and with the collaboration of the librarians of our team at BIREME, we were successful in the activity and were happy with the good receptivity of the whole group. The words of Matilde Peguero Payano, from the Directorate of Health Situation Analysis of the Ministry of Public Health of the Dominican Republic endorse this feeling: “it has been a great satisfaction to have shared with you these two days of workshop, and I believe that our goal has been achieved. We will continue to work, hoping for your support and guidance. In fact, I felt your presence so close to us that I barely even realized it was a virtual event.”