The technical cooperation project developed between the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME/PAHO/WHO) and the Representation of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) in Nicaragua Its main objective was to activate the Nicaragua VHL and strengthen the Network of Cooperating Centers with the aim of increasing the visibility of the country’s scientific and technical production in health in accordance with the VHL Model.
The project, which began in May 2021 and ended in June 2022, was developed based on two Strategic Avenues: 1) Information Management and Systematization and 2) Information Technology and Human Resources. The main results of the technical cooperation project are highlighted below.
Development of the National Nicaragua VHL Portal
The activation of the national VHL portal included the participation of the BIREME team, PAHO Nicaragua, and UNAN Managua, where joint actions were carried out for content mapping, identification of priority health issues in the country, and analysis of the information needs of the VHL’s target audience. With BIREME’s technical support, the technical design and installation on the BIREME servers was carried out. The portal was launched on October 26, 2021 and had the participation of the Authorities of the UNAN Managua and authorities of PAHO, BIREME, and the network of cooperating centers in the country.
National and Nicaraguan Ministry of Health databases
To give visibility to the scientific and technical production of Nicaragua, two databases were developed, the National Database (in Spanish) that gathers, systematizes, and registers production at the national level in order to support the bibliographic control of the production that is developed by the country’s institutions and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health Database (MinSa; in Spanish) whose main objective is to disseminate information at the institution level.
Meetings were held with the Nicaragua VHL team, MinSa, and PAHO Nicaragua to define the creation of the databases in the Information Sources Management System and discuss the selection criteria, in addition to defining the flows for FI-Admin and e-BlueInfo data.
Strengthening the Network
In August 2021, a meeting was held with the participation of universities, international organizations, and public and private institutions, which led to a second meeting that formed a National Advisory Committee that will promote the establishment of a Virtual Health Library and related health issues, which will contribute to the improvement of services and increase of information resources. In addition to the formation of the Advisory Committee, a series of training activities were developed with the aim of strengthening local capacities.
In September 2021, a workshop was held for the development of selection and management criteria for national and thematic databases, with the participation of Network institutions in Nicaragua. Currently the network of cooperating centers in Nicaragua has 56 institutions that are registered in the VHL Network directory.
With the aim of promoting the publication of scientific research and clinical observation results in Nicaragua and training or upskilling participants in the main concepts that govern scientific communication in health sciences, a series of webinars on this topic was organized in 2022. The first was on Ethics and Integrity in Research. The second webinar’s theme was Science Evaluation: Impact Indices, and addressed the evolution of impact metrics from the creation of the Impact Factor, in 1975, to the contribution of social networks in scientific communication, through usage and download metrics and new databases such as Dimensions. The third and last webinar of the series, held on May 25, spoke of the dimensions of Open Science and the future of scientific communication2, as an irreversible trend in how to communicate and evaluate research results.
Considering that the access and use of scientific evidence is essential to support decisions and interventions related to health, three workshops were held to strengthen this issue in Nicaragua. The workshops were organized by the PAHO/WHO Representation in the country, together with the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, in cooperation with BIREME, and aimed at health professionals and academics in the country.
In the first workshop, the products, services, and functionalities of the Nicaragua VHL Portal were presented. The second and third workshops aimed to develop skills to organize research questions, conduct more effective searches, and make evidence-informed health decisions.
The National VHL continues to be active and in continuous development, and the team provides technical and methodological support for managing strategic actions and updating the portal and its information sources.
 Webinar on scholarly communication for users of the Nicaragua VHL. Available at: https://boletin.bireme.org/en/2022/04/30/webinar-on-scholarly-communication-for-users-of-the-vhl-nicaragua/
 Webinars on scholarly communication are given to the Nicaragua VHL Network. Available at: https://boletin.bireme.org/en/2022/05/30/webinars-on-scholarly-communication-are-given-to-the-nicaragua-vhl-network/