BIREME continues to prioritize actions aimed at supporting countries with information and evidence for decision-making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and complying with its Biannual Work Plan (PTB) 2020-2021 characterized by projects, products and services framed in 4 initiatives: (1) information and knowledge management, (2) information services, (3) information intelligence in health sciences; and (4) Leadership and Management of BIREME.
At the end of each semester, the entire Organization at its different levels, that is, Areas and Departments of the Headquarters, Country Offices and Centers evaluate and reflect on their results and performance in the context of their PTB, therefore, the more recently, it was referring to the first semester of 2021 of PTB 20-21, when BIREME highlighted the main results related to its operation and technical cooperation program:
- Maintenance and updating of the products and services developed to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic with information and evidence (Windows of Knowledge: COVID-19 and Nursing and COVID-19, Support for the WHO Database on COVID- 19, Repositories of preprints in the Regional VHL with daily update of studies on COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2, Evidence Maps of Traditional, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine and COVID, e-BlueInfo Application adapted for COVID-19, Network of Reference Librarians developing search strategies on COVID-19, among others.
- VHL 2021 Action Plan based on the result of the application of the new maturity assessment instrument of VHL Instances in four pillars: Governance, Content, Communication and Services, and Technology. Each VHL Instance filled out the VHL Maturity Instrument launched in the beginning of 2021, which was developed based on the Information Systems for Health Maturity Assessment Tool (IS4H-MM), developed by PAHO. It resulted in the strengthening of the VHL Network and the improvement of VHL portals including the organization and highlighting of content related to COVID-19. In total, 41 VHL portals highlighted COVID-19 content, such as search strategies, windows of knowledge, relevant links, among others.
- Actions to strengthen local capacities in the access to and use of scientific information in health are realigned through virtual sessions with the VHL, LILACS, and Reference Librarians networks (LILACS Network Coordination: 4 meetings – 130 participants from 17 LA&C countries and Spain; Editorial teams of journals indexed in LILACS: 4 virtual meetings – 654 participants from 20 countries of LA&C and Spain), Indexers: 4 virtual meetings – 407 participants from 18 countries of LA&C, Spain and Mozambique, LILACS and VHL Methodologies: 9 meetings virtual-) – 564 participants from 19 LA&C countries and Mozambique, Reference Librarians: 12 virtual meetings – about 600 participants from 16 LA&C countries and Portugal and with the courses available in the Virtual Campus of Public Health (VCPH) for Access and use of scientific information in health, which had 7,600 participants registered in the period out of a total of 37,200.
- To strengthen the publication of results of clinical research and observation, the Scholarly Communication in Health Course was launched in April 2021, in the Portuguese language. The course is available on the VCPH. At the end of the 1st Semester of 2021, more than 1,000 participants from 20 countries were registered, including, in addition to Brazil, the Portuguese-speaking countries. This was in addition to the Spanish language course, which has 16,000 enrollees from 18 countries.
- Alliances and actions at a global level, mainly with projects in coordination with the Library and Digital Information Networks Unit at WHO Headquarters, such as the “COVID-19 – Global Literature on coronavirus disease” database, updated daily and which has more than 300 thousand documents including journal articles, preprints, gray literature, and clinical trial records related to the pandemic and accessed by more than 1 million users. Another project is the Global Index Medicus (GIM), which integrates the Indexes Medici coordinated by the WHO Regional Offices with more than 2.2 million bibliographic references in health. Also noteworthy is the technical cooperation with the Regional Office for Africa for the migration of all data from its Index Medicus to the VHL technological platform.
- Launch of version 2.0 of e-BlueInfo. With new collections of documents; greater visibility of the Ministries of Health sources; new graphics and data of interest to users; information for health professionals from countries that are not yet part of the e-BlueInfo network (the “other countries” option); collections of guides published by PAHO/WHO; access to the scientific evidence available in the VHL using the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) codes; related scientific and technical information available in the VHL; and new types of content, such as multimedia, health legislation, etc. In addition, version 2.0 of the application offers the option of storing the user’s favorite and visited documents (through authentication). Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, and El Salvador make up the e-BlueInfo network with more than 9,000 downloads of the application. Downloads from other countries total more than 1,800.
- The DeCS/MeSH 2021 edition has been published, with special attention for the terms related to COVID-19 and the launch of the DeCS Finder, an innovative service for researchers, editors, and librarians in the health sciences field, that works online, locates any descriptor, synonym, or qualifier of the DeCS/MeSH controlled vocabulary of a given text in a fraction of seconds. From February to June 2021, the service has been used by more than 16,000 users from 71 countries, who have searched for DeCS/MeSH terms in their texts more than 46,500 times. The 10 countries that most used the DeCS/MeSH search engine during this period are Brazil, the United States, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Ecuador.
- BIREME and the Knowledge and Evidence Translation Program (KT), both from the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH) developed the EVID@Easy to select the scientific evidence available in the VHL, according to each stage of the process of decision-making, which includes the search, selection, evaluation, and integration of the best available evidence for certain health conditions and contexts. The EVID@Easy has already been used more than 13 thousand times since the beginning of its operation in March 2021 and will have an official launch in November 2021.
- Strengthening of BIREME’s operations and technical cooperation through multiple conventions, agreements, and actions subsidized with financial resources: Implementation of the Second Term of Adjustment to the Term of Cooperation 93 (TA2/TC93), through PAHO Brazil, to strengthen BIREME; Cooperation with TC95, in coordination with PAHO Brazil, for the information management priorities of the Executive Secretariat (via CGDI/SAA) of ; Coordinated developments with WHO Headquarters and its Regional Offices, for the development and maintenance of the WHO COVID-19 database and development and maintenance of the GIM (Global Index Medicus); Formalization of an Agreement with the SMS-São Paulo for the maintenance of the Secretariat’s VHL.
- Effective management of BIREME operations even in emergency teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic with internal and external communication actions, IT infrastructure, services operation, servers and ICT platforms, and maintaining regular actions for the development of skills and strengthening the organizational climate.
According to Diego González, Director of BIREME “the results of the Center in the first semester of 2021 have been multiple, which are possible thanks to the collaborative work with a network of institutions committed to the management of information and knowledge, as well as the generation of evidence for decision-making in health and definitely because of the enthusiasm, professionalism, and dedication of the entire BIREME team, a specialized Center of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, part of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH)”.
BIREME Bulletin n. 57. Project management at BIREME and effective communication with counterparts. https://boletin.bireme.org/en/2021/07/03/project-management-at-bireme-and-effective-communication-with-counterparts/