On October 20, the 15th anniversary of the Virtual Health Library Network of Information and Knowledge (RIC VHL) was held via web conference. The RIC VHL is the result of the Technical-Scientific Information Management Project carried out in 2006 by the São Paulo State Department of Health (SES-SP) in partnership with BIREME/PAHO/WHO, with the objective of contributing to the strengthening of information and scientific and technical knowledge in health management in the state of São Paulo, using the VHL model.
Sueli Gonzalez Saes, Coordinator of the VHL Information and Knowledge Network, SES-SP, oversaw the opening and mediation of the event and stated that “the mission of the São Paulo State Secretary of Health’s VHL is to be one more agent that is committed to democratizing access to health information, promoting the wide dissemination of this knowledge. Nowadays, mainly, we know that health information is an important form of disease prevention and health promotion. And we also know that information helps save lives.” Sueli also highlighted the role of BIREME and its collaborators, stating that the initiative started 15 years ago was made possible because many people, and some more specifically, committed their skills, talents, time, and work to achieve the common goal of bringing health information to all.
Next, Diego Gonzalez, then Director of BIREME, highlighted that “for BIREME, in the framework of its mission to democratize information, knowledge, and evidence for decision-making in health, it is a pleasure to contribute to the RIC VHL, which uses this information management model and knowledge that we have promoted for over 23 years”. González also stated that the work carried out “acquired special relevance and responsibility in the last 20 months in which we lived with the covid-19 pandemic”. He concluded his participation noting that the “RIC VHL is distinguished by its level of organization, collaborative work, and the inclusion of multiple institutions that make up a true collaboration network, which should be replicated in other states in Brazil and not only in this country, but also in Latin America and the Caribbean”.
Then, Renato Murasaki, then Manager of Methodologies and Information Technologies at BIREME, presented the 15-year timeline of the RIC VHL. Initially, he said he was proud and honored to have participated in this construction since the first moment of the project, in 2006. Murasaki highlighted, throughout his presentation, the four guiding axes of the operation carried out through the technical cooperation between SES-SP and BIREME: “contributing to strengthening the management of scientific and technical information and knowledge in health in the Secretariat, expanding the access and use of information and scientific evidence in health, increasing the visibility of the Secretariat’s scientific and technical output, and supporting decision-making processes”.
It was then up to Lilian Schiavon, from the RIC VHL Coordination, to make a presentation on the main highlights of the RIC VHL trajectory, highlighting the main benefits of implementing the Virtual Library, among them the adoption of standardized data insertion methodology for all cooperating institutions, which act together and in a decentralized manner; organization and availability of institutional scientific output in a unified and virtual environment; greater visibility for institutional scientific output and quick and easy access for managers, professionals in the field, and the general public. Lilian also presented the various interfaces that have been adopted over the past 15 years, following the trends and innovations of a more user-friendly information architecture. “As we celebrate these 15 years of the SES/SP VHL Network of Information and Knowledge, it is necessary to highlight that, to get here, it took years of work, dedication, challenges, and commitment from many professionals. The engagement of teams from both BIREME/PAHO/WHO and SES/SP, including representatives of the Research Institutes, our cooperating centers since 2006, allowed us to evolve and consolidate this project. The certainty of having fulfilled our duties leads us to continue fighting for the continuation of this relevant service for SES/SP, which contributes to preserving and disseminating scientific output in health and expanding its visibility”, said Lilian. “Our acknowledgements to everyone involved, and we are sure that together we can do more!”
Sueli Gonzalez Saes concluded “this year we celebrate 15 years of our Virtual Health Library and I understand that quality access to health information is a right that must be ensured, by management bodies such as the Secretariats and the Ministry, to the population, to the citizen. The mission of the SES/SP VHL is to be one more agent that is committed to democratizing access to health information, promoting the broad dissemination of this knowledge. I wish to thank Bireme and say that it was an honor to rely on all our partners during this long journey. Alone, we do nothing. If we are gathered here today to celebrate this date, it is because many people, and some more specifically, have pledged their skill, talent, time, work, and even their determination to achieve the common goal of bringing health information to everyone. At every important or crucial moment facing our challenge, we had Bireme’s full support, more than technical support. The partnership with Bireme, in addition to always being successful, was pleasant because it was joyful and happy. Bireme and SES, each with their own expertise and collaboration, and in partnership, made our project possible. This partnership has to be continuous because each actor has a role! I want to thank everyone who helped us in this big task. Before reaching each user and all the professionals, the evidence, the information, we had to tidy up the house and here everyone knows what this means! Thank you all!”