The annual sessions of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Directing Council bring together health ministers and high-level delegates from their Member States or Latin American and Caribbean countries to discuss and analyze policies and establish priorities for joint technical cooperation and collaboration. The 59th Session was held virtually from September 20th to 24th. The following is a brief summary of the main topics discussed at this session, and in particular BIREME’s participation as a Specialized Center of the Organization.
The PAHO Director’s Annual Report – Working during the Covid-19 Pandemic – presented on the first day of the 59th Session of the Directing Council (DC59) summarizes the cooperation provided to member countries, with an emphasis on combating the Covid-19 pandemic without, however, losing focus on the prevention of chronic non-communicable diseases and greater access to health care.
The report, moreover, includes several health information and scientific communication products and services developed by BIREME, with emphasis on the Virtual Health Library (VHL), the Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature (LILACS), the Health Sciences Descriptors (DeCS), Windows of Knowledge, and training such as Science Communication Online Courses, among other recent developments.
Three new members were elected during the DC59 session to one of BIREME’s Governance Committees, the Advisory Committee (AC): Chile, Guatemala, and Trinidad and Tobago (2022-2024) will replace Guyana, Mexico, and Uruguay (2019-2021). AC members meet annually to monitor the developments of the Center’s biannual work plans, including aspects of its management, institutionality, projects, and technical cooperation program, when they provide recommendations for strengthening and innovation.
Also, for DC59, BIREME produced an institutional video in Portuguese, Spanish, and English with relevant information on the management and technical cooperation program of the Center in line with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas, and Universal Health. The video was projected at specific moments of the DC59, highlighting BIREME’s mission and objectives, networking with and for countries, and its Covid-19 information products and services developed in collaboration with PAHO and WHO, as well as associated institutions. Centered on the VHL network and its information sources, LILACS and DeCS, innovative products were developed, such as the Windows of Knowledge, Courses on Access to Information and Scientific Communication, and the services and applications like DeCS Finder, Evid@Easy, e-BlueInfo, MyVHL, BVS Infobutton, among others.
About BIREME’s Governance Committees
In effect since January 2010, BIREME’s new institutional framework defines in its Statute the governance structure, which establishes the Advisory (AC) and Scientific (SC) Committees to exercise advisory functions to the PAHO/WHO Board of Directors, in all matters related to the programmatic, managerial, and technical cooperation functions of the Center.
Article VI of the BIREME Statute, approved by the 49th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), resolution CD49.R5, established that the Board of BIREME will be constituted by a representative appointed by the PAHO/WHO Director and one appointed by the Government of Brazil as permanent members, and that the five non-permanent members shall be selected and appointed by the Directing Council or the Pan American Sanitary Bureau of PAHO, taking into account geographic representation.
The BIREME Advisory Committee, among other functions, is responsible for formulating recommendations for the Director of the Office on BIREME’s programmatic functions, based on the PAHO Strategic Plan and PAHO’s Technical Cooperation Work Plan, as well as the recommendations of the members of BIREME’s Scientific Committee (Article VI, 4[a]).
Learn more about the DC59
PAHO/WHO Brazil. Ministers of Health from across the Americas to address the COVID-19 pandemic and other health priorities at the PAHO Directing Council. https://www.paho.org/en/news/17-9-2021-ministers-health-across-americas-address-covid-19-pandemic-and-other-health
PAHO/WHO. Health ministers agree to tackle urgent health issues in the Americas at PAHO Directing Council. https://www.paho.org/en/news/24-9-2021-health-ministers-agree-tackle-urgent-health-issues-americas-paho-directing-council-0
PAHO/WHO. DC59 Official documents – https://www.paho.org/en/governing-bodies/directing-council/59th-directing-council
 Annual Report of the Director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau 2021. Working through the COVID-19 Pandemic. Available from: https://iris.paho.org/bitstream/handle/10665.2/54909/9789275173640_eng.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y