São Paulo, October 17, 2023 (BIREME/PAHO/WHO) – Between September 6 and 8, 2023, BIREME and the Department of Evidence and Health Intelligence (EIH) embarked on a mission from PAHO/WHO in Havana, Cuba. The work agenda was developed by João Paulo Souza, Director of BIREME, and Eliane Pereira dos Santos, Knowledge and Networks Advisor of the EIH Department, in collaboration with the PAHO/WHO team in Cuba, under the leadership of Dr José Moya, PAHO/WHO Representative in that country. Over three days of work, the mission’s main objective was to promote technical exchange between the parties to evaluate ongoing cooperation terms and prospect new solutions for current needs.
On September 6, the agenda began with a visit to the PAHO office in the country, with a welcome reception by Representative Dr José Moya and his team and a review of the mission’s scope. Subsequently, a meeting was hold at the headquarters of the National Center for Medical Sciences Information (INFOMED), regarding its role as a WHO Collaborating Center (CUB-27). On this occasion, the teams shared interests, particularly related to the use of machine learning tools for the automatic indexing of documents in the LILACS database and technical advances in the use of DECS.
On the second day, the mission visited the facilities of the National Coordinator of Clinical Trials Center (CENCEC), an institution affiliated with Cochrane that promotes evidence-based health and develops products and services in the “One Health” approach. During the meeting, teams exchanged potential interests for strengthening the Cuban health information system, which could be enhanced, for example, by creating Evidence Maps on relevant topics for the country. According to João Paulo Souza, Director of BIREME, “The implementation of evidence maps allows for establishing research and development priorities for Cuba and the Region.”
In response to the expressed interest of CENCEC, the processes for designating WHO Collaborating Centers were explained, including the currently applicable requirements. Cuba already has eight WHO CCs in areas such as dengue, tuberculosis, knowledge management, occupational health, housing health, aging, health technology regulation, and communication and content strategies for social networks.
On the afternoon of September 7, as part of the celebrations for the 35th anniversary of the Medical Sciences Publisher (ECIMED), a Best Practices Roundtable on “Dialoguing about the implementation of open science in the Technical-Scientific Health Information System” was held. The participation of PAHO had a prominent place in the event program, with two presentations by its representatives on the mission. Eliane Pereira dos Santos (EIH/PAHO/WHO) spoke about the milestones of Scientific Communication and its relationship with the Organization’s Strategic Plan for 2020-2025, as well as the guidelines of the Pan American Journal of Public Health. On the other hand, João Paulo Souza, representing BIREME, presented the main products of the Center and the priority areas for public health in the Americas that should attract new investments for evidence and knowledge generation.
The last working day was entirely devoted to the work conducted between 2022 and 2023 by the WHO Collaborating Centers in Cuba, in cooperation with the PAHO Representation. Each of the eight CCs presented the scope and status of their main terms of reference, activities, and deliverables for the biennium. According to Eliane Pereira dos Santos, it was possible to confirm the alignment and knowledge of the directors of the present CCs regarding the mandates and priorities of PAHO. “We are very grateful for the recommendations made by the CCs to PAHO during the meeting, and we would like to inform that some activities are already in progress, with emphasis on the organization of the 2nd Regional Webinar of the CCs, which is expected to be held in early 2024.”
The mission concluded with the participation of the delegation in the farewell celebrations for Dr José Moya, along with the local team of the Representation. Dr Moya has then assumed the position of PAHO/WHO Representative in Mexico.
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