BIREME Bulletin n° 87

BIREME and SESAI hold workshop to strengthen the Indigenous Peoples’ VHL

The Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (BIREME/PAHO/WHO), in coordination with the Secretariat of Indigenous Health (SESAI/MoH) and the PAHO/WHO Representation in Brazil, organized a workshop aimed at aligning their new work plan with the Virtual Health Library (VHL) Model, as well as addressing the information and knowledge management priorities and needs of SESAI. The event took place on April 18th and 19th, 2024, at the PAHO/WHO Representation headquarters in Brasília and was attended by approximately 20 representatives from the promoting institutions and Fiocruz.

Photo: Karina Zambrana (PAHO/WHO).

Global action to strengthen traditional health practices

Among the priorities established for the new work plan are the improvement of the Indigenous Peoples’ VHL, the strengthening of information and knowledge management at SESAI, and the promotion of the exchange of experiences and dissemination of knowledge between health systems and services in the context of national and international cooperation.

At the opening of the event, BIREME Director João Paulo Souza presented the “WHO Global Action to Strengthen Traditional Health Practices”. He highlighted the importance of valuing the indigenous knowledge of Brazil, aligning it with global discussions. “We are experiencing a new phase in seeking to integrate traditional and indigenous knowledge and medicines into conventional health systems and knowledge production in this area. With this, we are seeking to ensure that more people have access to culturally appropriate care, thus expanding the capacity of health systems to meet the needs of all,” emphasized João Paulo Souza.

The Workshop’s agenda included a series of activities for the work plan specifications. “We followed a script to review and detail the entire scope of the Project, including defining the mission, objectives, expected results, indicators, and lines of action,” said Veronica Abdala, Manager of Information Products and Services at BIREME. Other definitions agreed upon by the participants included technical aspects for the construction of the Indigenous Peoples’ VHL portal, such as the sources and types of information corresponding to the information needs of the VHL’s target audience. The program also included the construction of a network for the governance of the Indigenous Peoples’ VHL and the identification of the target audience and their information needs. “These are essential factors for the success of a VHL,” explained Veronica Abdala.

Celebration of National Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Highlighted in the program, one activity was dedicated to celebrating Brazil’s National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, commemorated on April 19th. The reference to the date featured an intervention by Giovana Mandulão, General Coordinator of Knowledge Management, Information, Evaluation, and Monitoring of Indigenous Health (CGCOIM/SESAI), who presented herself as a Macuxi Wapichana indigenous woman, representing the peoples of the triple border territory between Brazil, Venezuela, and Guyana.

At the beginning of her speech, Giovana Mandulão invited her relatives who attended the Workshop to join her in front of the microphone and camera, marking the moment of political action with strong emotion and a sense of belonging. “First, I would like to invite my relatives who are here, powerful warrior women, Hellen Pankararu, Cleizy Baré, and Raylene Baré, to be here with me. We never walk alone, so come with me, our warrior sisters. It is a very important moment to be here, it is even a historic moment, very symbolic, to be here in this space,” she began.

Next, with the aim of prompting those present to reflect, Giovana Mandulão read a passage from the “Manifesto for the Life of Indigenous Peoples” and then concluded: “We left our territory so that we could be heard by you, by the State, and here, with great pride, all of us recognize this journey, we left our territory and came here to qualify ourselves to discuss with you. May our demands be heard, our struggle, because there is a much larger movement, our peoples are there in the territory. And it is for them that we are here.”

Launch of the new Indigenous Peoples’ VHL portal

The cooperation project is being developed by BIREME in coordination with SESAI, through Cooperation Term number 93, in its fourth additional term (TA4/TC93). According to the project’s schedule, the launch of the new VHL Portal for Indigenous Peoples’ Health is scheduled for the end of the second semester of 2024.


Links of Interest:

Thematic VHL in development for Indigenous populations – PAHO/WHO | Pan American Health Organization (

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