BIREME Bulletin n° 85

PTB 22-23 BIREME: main results with 2023 in focus

The year 2023 was marked by a number of important achievements for BIREME/PAHO/WHO, which made progress in its mission to support the countries of the Region with scientific and technical health information through its products and services, via Virtual Health Library (VHL) and its information resources.

In 2023, the following results of BIREME stand out:

Management and operation

  • Definition of BIREME’s 2023-2025 Strategy aligned with industry 4.0 and digital health;
  • Effective interchanges for the formalization of the Headquarters Agreement in Brazil;
  • Realization of the XII sessions of the XII AC and X SC;
  • Development of products and services from TA4/TC93 to the VHL Indigenous Health;
  • Developments in the context of TC95, in coordination with PWR Brazil, for the information management priorities of the Executive Secretariat (via CGDI/SAA) of MoH and with an extended validity until August 2026;
  • Effective management of BIREME operations with internal and external communication actions, IT infrastructure (change in the Datacenter), operation of services, servers and ICT platforms, and maintenance of regular actions for the development of skills and strengthening the organizational climate. Action Plan defined and forum for commitment of personnel in operation.

Implementation of its technical cooperation program

  • The VHL regional portal, that turned 25 years in 2023, maintained its regular operation, offering access to 57 sources of information that amount nearly 37.3 million citations of scientific and technical documents. The access numbers to the portal at the end of 2023 exceeded 15 million access sessions of 8.5 million users, with 28 million page views.
  • LILACS updated and its network contributed with more than 10 thousand new records, and LILACS reached 1.07 million document records, of which 61% with a link to the full text. 210 cooperating centers from 19 countries contributed to LILACS (ARG, BOL, BRA, CHL, COL, CRI, CUB, ECU, ELS, GUT, GUY, HND, MEX, PAN, PAR, PER, SUR, URY, VEN) and 7 new journals from ARG, BOL, BRA, CHL, COL, PAR, PER were indicated for indexing in LILACS.
  • DeCS/Mesh 2023 version continued to be in regular operation and integrated into the VHL information source management systems. The review of the Homeopathy category continued and the review of the descriptors of the Nursing area began. In 2023, nearly 3.7 million access sessions were registered to the DeCS/MeSH portal by 2.4 million users, which generated more than 10 million page views. DeCS/MeSH Finder service was used by 27.6 thousand users from 90 countries, with more than 142 thousand page views. The countries that accessed the most were: Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Portugal and Cuba.
  • Within the framework of the 25 years of the VHL, technical meetings were promoted from November 13 to 16 with the focal points of the VHL Network to discuss key topics for strengthening the VHL aligned with the BIREME 2023-2025 Strategy “Information for Action” in addition to meetings with the focal points of the VHL MTCI, MEDCARIB and INFOMED for the P/S of BIREME. 80 participants from 21 countries in the Region were present. In 2023, the meetings to strengthen and expand the work of the Networks included indexing according to the LILACS methodology and good practices in the editorial processes of scientific journals. In the second semester, 5 indexing training sessions were held, with an average of 100 participants/session from 15 countries. There were 4 Good Practices sessions in the year with more than 570 connections of participants from 20 countries. The user service answered more than 640 questions through the Ask the Librarian service, of which 350 in the second semester. During the year, 140 new search strategies were developed, the search repository (RefNet) was updated with 140 new searches, reaching a total of 975 registered searches.
  • Alliances and actions at a global level, mainly with projects in coordination with the WHO Digital Information Library and Networks Unit and Traditional Medicine Unit: (i) “COVID-19 – Global literature on coronavirus disease” database with more than 877 thousand documents and accessed by more than 5,364 thousand users; (ii) Global Index Medicus (GIM) integrating the Medici Indexes coordinated by the WHO Regional Offices with more than 2,453 million bibliographic references in health and accessed by more than 278 thousand users; (iii) operation of the AFRO/WHO Index Medicus on the VHL technological platform; (iv) support in the use of the ProEthos platform, developed by BIREME in coordination with the PAHO Regional Bioethics/HSS team, to systematize the work processes of the Human Research Ethics Committees; and (v) development of information products and services for the I WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summitt.
  • The VHL Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine (VHL TCIM America) was promoted at the I WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summitt, that served as a platform for products and services promoted in the exhibition space of the WHO Regional Offices in the Summit. A Portal was also developed to add materials promoted in this space – highlighting: Collection of 65 electronic posters representing experiences of integrating TCIM into national health systems, research programs and results, institutional and collaborative initiatives in the Region of the Americas; Development and publication of 2 Knowledge Windows: Traditional Medicine of the Americas, and Ethnicity and Health; and Validation of data from the mapping of available information on Indigenous and Afro-descendant Traditional Medicine in the Americas, in the context of the PAHO/WHO Strategy and Plan of Action on Ethnicity and Health 2019-2025; and platform for presenting the validated data in the “Country Profiles” section.
  • In cooperation with PAHO KT/EIH, a portal was developed to facilitate access to clinical and public health decision support resources produced by WHO, PAHO and other national and international institutions, which follow the GRADE approach, which are: BIGG (International Base of GRADE Guidelines), BIGG-REC (GRADE Recommendations for SDG-3) and BIGG-Map (Map of pharmacological interventions for the management of COVID-19). In addition, a first prototype of a graphical tool was developed to develop algorithms designed based on clinical guidelines and guidelines. And, EVID@Easy continued to be updated with the improvement of guided searches, generation of new filters and updating of 27 tracks.
  • The evidence map methodology offered by Bireme was applied for the development and publication of 17 new Evidence Maps and another 3 maps are in the final phase of development. The Evidence Map Portal was updated ( which has 50 registered evidence maps. 8 new Windows of Knowledge were also developed. The Windows of Knowledge Portal ( is in regular operation and has 56 registered Windows.
  • In coordination with the Secretariat of Information and Digital Health of the Ministry of Health Brazil (SEIDIGI/MoH) and the PWR BRA, BIREME supported the:
    (1) development and implementation of the New Formative Second Opinion Program (New FSO) considering the conception of a high-fidelity, interactive, and near-final interface prototype. This included integrating technology with the existing FSO database and enumerating a set of desirable features that the New FSO should possess to meet the requirements of the Information 4.0 industry (under TA1/TC 157). Concurrent research is still underway with the Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto da Universidade de São Paulo (FMRP/USP – Portuguese acronym) on the secure application of Artificial Intelligence, specifically ChatGPT-3, in aiding health decision-making; and
    (2) Resumed of the Interinstitutional Health Information Network (Ripsa) to also reactivate the RIPSA portal, develop the Indicator Rating Sheets platform (IDB Sheets) and support the management of the content collection. The RIPSA portal is in operation in BIREME’s IT infrastructure [], consolidating itself as a space for the dissemination and visibility of the products and services developed by RIPSA Network (under TA8/TC95).

The results achieved in 2023 reflect the commitment of BIREME’s technical and administrative teams, under the leadership of its Director, Dr JoĂŁo Paulo Souza, and the collaboration with the actors of the VHL network and associates, who work closely together in the development and updating of information products.

As a PAHO/WHO specialized center, part of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH), BIREME has the strategic support and recognition of the Government of Brazil, through the Ministry of Health, and with the constant support of the countries of the region, to continue working for the democratization of access to scientific and technical information in health.

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