19 January 2023 -- The year 2022 was marked by a series of successes and challenges for the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME/PAHO/WHO). Still under the effects of the covid-19 pandemic and in a partial remote work regime since October, BIREME has advanced in its mission to support the countries of the region with scientific and technical health information through its products and services centered on the Virtual Library in Health (VHL) and its sources of information.
Two thousand and twenty-two was the year in which the Pan American Health Organization celebrated its 120th anniversary and BIREME its 55th. To remember these milestones throughout the year, logos and communication materials were created that integrate both numbers. The PAHO-120th-BIREME-55th brand was (and still is) present in e-mail signatures, online meeting backgrounds, PowerPoint presentation templates and official document headers.
In 2022, the following BIREME results regarding management and operation stand out:
- The physician epidemiologist and researcher Dr. João Paulo Souza assumes the direction of BIREME. The formal Director Transfer process took place on October 17 and 18, when Dr Sebastián García Saisó – director of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Health Action (EIH/PAHO) and interim director of BIREME since October 2021, transferred the Center to the new director.
- Extension of TC93 for five years (2022-2027) for the maintenance and improvement of BIREME.
- Formalization of TA4/TC93 for the development of an Indigenous Health VHL.
- Development of TA6/TC95 and TA9/TC95 (through CGDI/SAA/SE/Ministry of Health of Brazil) within the scope of information management.
- Actions in coordination with PAHO/WHO, PAHO Brazil and the Government of Brazil to sign the BIREME Headquarters Agreement in the country.
Regarding the implementation of its technical cooperation program, the following achievements should be noted:
- The VHL is recognized as a good practice in the 4th volume of the publication “Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development” of the United Nations Agency for South-South and Triangular Cooperation (UNOSSC);
- Support to countries in the Region for the development of national and thematic instances of VHL, with emphasis on Nicaragua, Bolivia, Paraguay, Guatemala, Colombia, and Honduras;
- Publishing of the 2022 version of DeCS/MeSH, with the inclusion of the new TCIM category, as well as the revision of the Public Health category. The DeCS/MeSH Finder automatic descriptor location service continues to be accessed by users from more than 100 countries;
- LILACS continues to be updated as the main index of scientific and technical output in the Region and in 2022 surpassed 1 million document records, of which 58% are available in full text. The base currently indexes 896 journals from Latin America and the Caribbean
- A subregional VHL instance for the Caribbean is being developed, coordinated by BIREME and the MedCarib network. This VHL will make it possible to integrate efforts and information resources, giving priority to facilitating access to information for health professionals, researchers, students, and health decision makers in the Caribbean region.
- Contribution to update the WHO-led research databases: (a) WHO – COVID-19 (WHO COVID-19 Research Database), which in 2019 received the Choice award from the American Library Association. (b) Update of the Global Index Medicus (GIM) through the integration of the regional Global Index Medici. (c) support in updating the ProEthos platform, developed by BIREME in coordination with the PAHO/WHO Regional Bioethics Team to systematize the work of the Ethics Committees in research involving Human Beings
- Update and maintenance of the e-BlueInfo application version 2.0 with new collections of documents and functionalities and accession of Paraguay in addition to the countries that already participate in the network, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Colombia;
- As products of scientific and technical health information, the Evid@Easy initiative continues to be improved with the guided search function and new Windows of Knowledge and Evidence Maps are being prepared to expand existing collections;
- An Advanced Course on Scholarly Communication in Health Sciences has been published on the PAHO/WHO Virtual Campus for Public Health, which addresses open science and other topics, in Spanish. Its launch will take place in mid-February/2023.
The results obtained in 2022 reflect the commitment of BIREME’s technical and administrative teams, under the leadership of its Directors in office in 2022 and more recently in October of 2022 with Dr. João Paulo Souza, and the cooperation with the actors of the VHL Network and associated networks who act in close cooperation in the development and updating of information products. As a specialized center of PAHO/WHO and an integral part of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Health Action (EIH), BIREME has the strategic support and recognition of the Brazilian Government, through the Ministry of Health, and the constant support of the countries of the region, to continue working towards the democratization of access to scientific and technical information on health.
 João Paulo Souza is the new director of BIREME/PAHO/WHO. BIREME Bulletin n° 73. Available from: https://boletin.bireme.org/en/2022/11/07/joao-paulo-souza-is-the-new-director-of-bireme-paho-who/