BIREME Bulletin n° 65

Laxmi Mansingh’s contribution to the MedCarib Network and the integration of English Caribbean information sources

Laxmi Mansingh passed away on February 19, which we are deeply sorry for. Laxmi joined the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica in 1974 as a librarian at the Medical Library, where she spent her professional career. She was promoted to Librarian in Charge in 1978 and to Senior Library III in 2001, a degree equivalent to that of professor. She was the first librarian to be promoted to this professional level at the University.

For ten years, she has compiled and published Caribbean medical health literature, with over 10,000 documents. The database was the gateway used by BIREME to initiate technical cooperation actions with the English Caribbean countries from 1989, the year of the creation of MedCarib. This database of bibliographic references of information on health sciences in the English Caribbean countries using the LILACS methodology was created under the coordination of Laxmi Mansingh, Head of the Library of Medicine, UWI Mona, Jamaica, at the time, with the participation of 17 countries, forming the MedCarib Network.

Laxmi was succeeded in coordinating the MedCarib Network by Ernesta Greenidge, Head of Library of Medical Sciences at the University of West Indies School of Medicine in St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, who promoted in 2012 a strategic meeting with the English Caribbean countries, prioritizing the strengthening of collaborative work for bibliographic control in the Caribbean region and the revitalization of the MedCarib Network. The result of this action is that the MedCarib database has been regularly updated by the network and is available for access on various portals of the VHL, in addition to being the main source of information for the CARPHA EvIDeNCe Portal.

As a result of the efforts, at the ACURIL 2020 Virtual Conference, issues on the development, strengthening and participation of Caribbean countries were highlighted by BIREME during the event, together with the network, and are being discussed and detailed in an action plan to the development of a Caribbean Regional VHL, with the objective of seeking a more attractive approach to integrate the Network’s efforts in the English Caribbean region, in a sustainable way, avoiding dispersion and eliminating duplication of work. States, but guaranteeing space and identity for the countries.

“It is with regret that we receive the news of the death of Ms. Laxmi Mansingh, with whom we had the opportunity to work professionally for more than a decade in favor of advancing health science information systems in the Caribbean and Latin America. Ms. Mansingh, as Director of the Medical Library at the University of the West Indies with professorship at the university, has led with dedication, efficiency and scientific and technical capacity in the creation and development of the Caribbean health library and documentation center network – the MedCarib and contributed decisively to the success of the Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Information System and later of the Virtual Health Library under the leadership of BIREME/PAHO/WHO. Ms. Mansingh leaves a remarkable legacy for librarianship and information science. My personal relationship with Laxmi has always been characterized by a kind friendship”, stated Abel L. Packer, the Center’s ex-Director.

None of this would have been possible without the leading role and pioneering spirit of Laxmi Mansingh, to whom we pay our tribute and acknowledgements.

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