The tenth Session of the Advisory Committee (AC) of the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME/PAHO/WHO), which took place online on October 7, 2021, had as its main objectives, once again, to hold the annual session and effectuate the exchange and communication with the Committee’s members; report on the progress of the Center’s management and technical cooperation activities, based on the recommendations made in 2020; and strengthen BIREME’s institutional framework in Brazil and with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Representatives from Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay, in addition to PAHO/WHO, participated in the meeting:
Matheus Corradi de Souza, Assistant of the Itamaraty Citizenship Division, Brazil;
Luiz Tadeu Villela Blum, Executive Undersecretary, Secretariat for Administrative Affairs of the Ministry of Health of Brazil;
Shirlei Rodrigues, General Coordinator of Documentation and Information of the Secretariat for Administrative Affairs of the Ministry of Health of Brazil;
Grecia Umbarilla, Advisor for the Cooperation and International Relations Group of the Ministry of Health of Colombia;
Adriana Salazar, Chief of International Relations of the MS of Costa Rica;
Martha Caballero, Head of the General Directorate of International Relations of the Secretary of Health of Mexico;
Margarita Contreras, of the Federal Commission for the Protections against Sanitary Risks, of the Secretary of Health of Mexico;
Graciela Fernández, Sub-directorate of Management Evaluation, National Resources Fund, MS of Uruguay.
PAHO/WHO was represented by the Director of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH), Sebastian García Saisó and also by Diego Gonzalez, Director of BIREME on the occasion, and by the Center’s team.
Colombia and Costa Rica participated in the AC for the first time, having been elected for a three-year term (2021-2023) in the 58th Session of the Advisory Board of PAHO/WHO (CD58.R6). Guyana did not send a representative to this AC session, having justified its absence.
Graciela Fernández was elected president of the session and led the work.
Sebastián Garcia Saisó opened the session with welcoming remarks. He thanked the AC members, emphasizing that, together with the Scientific Committee, whose VII session took place on September 30th, “they have an important mission in the fulfillment of the PAHO/WHO Director’s advisory functions, in the Center’s programmatic cooperation, managerial, and technical functions, defined in the BIREME Statute”. García Saisó expressed hope that “the result of this meeting will contribute to the improvement and sustainability of BIREME within the framework of its mission to democratize information, knowledge, and evidence for decision-making in health”.
Diego González, Director of BIREME at the time and ex officio Secretary of the Committee, thanked everyone for their presence and gave a brief presentation of the main scientific communication and information products and services developed by the Center, followed by presentations from the technical and administrative areas, with special emphasis on results that reflect the AC recommendations made in 2020.
The main recommendations of the AC members centered on strengthening BIREME’s institutional and technical cooperation:
- Resume negotiations involving PAHO Brazil, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to proceed with the formalization of the BIREME Headquarters Agreement in Brazil;
- Continue to strengthen the work in joint coordination with the PAHO/WHO Country Offices, which would allow for greater dissemination of BIREME’s technical cooperation in the countries’ Ministries of Health;
- Intensify BIREME’s dissemination and communication actions, in particular by making use of the newly created institutional video on BIREME, which was aired during the 59th PAHO/WHO Directing Council (DC59), to promote scientific and technical health information products (about covid-19, for example) developed by BIREME and others.
Board members, both those who have participated in past meetings and newcomers, were unanimous in making positive comments about the results and products and services developed by BIREME. Considerations about the continued strengthening of the sustainability of the Center were the subject of comments from several members.
About the BIREME Advisory Committee
The BIREME Advisory Committee has as its main function, under the BIREME Statutes in the context of its new institutional framework (CD49.R5), to analyze and make recommendations to the PAHO/WHO Directory on the programmatic functions based on the PAHO/WHO Strategic Plan, Biannual Work Plan (PTB), and their funding sources.
The AC is composed of PAHO/WHO (represented at this meeting by the Director of the EIH Department) and BIREME (the Director and management and technical team) and the Government of Brazil as permanent members. Furthermore, it is made up of five Member States as non-permanent members, selected by the PAHO/WHO Governing Bodies for a period of up to three years, which currently are Guyana (2019-2021), Mexico (2019-2021) and Uruguay (2019-2021), Colombia and Costa Rica (2021-2023). In the triennium 2022-2024, Guyana, Mexico and Uruguay will be replaced by Chile, Guatemala, and Trinidad and Tobago.