BIREME turns 55 celebrating 120 years of PAHO/WHO

2 Mar 2022
120 años OPS - 55 años de BIREME
2 Mar 2022

On March 3, 2022, BIREME completes 55 years of uninterrupted activity, as a specialized center of the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), and an integral part of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH). By carrying out its mission of democratizing the access and publication of information, knowledge, and evidence in health for the continuous improvement of research, education, and health systems in Latin American and Caribbean countries (LA&C), BIREME strengthens its trajectory and reaffirms its role in technical cooperation in Brazil and in the Region, and effectively participating in cooperation projects with other Regions.

BIREME’s Work Plan, which guides the technical cooperation program and institutional management priorities of the Center, aims at supporting the implementation of the Strategic Plan of the Pan American Health Organization, the Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas 2030, the Goals for Sustainable Development (Agenda 2030), and the Health Agenda for the Americas.

In this way, the campaigns for the 55th anniversary of BIREME and the 120th anniversary of PAHO/WHO, also celebrated in 2022, are both focused on stimulating efforts towards pro-equity strategies for access and universal health coverage. PAHO/WHO, through the fight against diseases and the promotion of physical and mental health, leaving no one behind. BIREME, promoting the democratization of access to information and evidence to guide the decision-making process in health.

Considering the global challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years, PAHO has worked with countries in the Americas to support the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, providing tests and vaccines, training laboratory and health professionals, and collecting and analyzing data for better decision making and action. BIREME, in turn, undertook efforts to develop and improve products and services of information and scientific communication in health for researchers and health professionals on the SARS-Cov-2 and covid-19 virus.

Supported by the pillar of the Virtual Health Library (VHL) and its information sources - Latin American and Caribbean Literature on Health Sciences (LILACS) and Health Sciences Descriptors (DeCS), innovative services were developed, such as the evidence search engine Evid@Easy and the automatic DeCS/MeSH descriptor finder. Also noteworthy are the Global Index Medicus (GIM), coordinated by the WHO, and the WHO covid-19 database, which use the same platform developed by BIREME. This database was recognized by the American Library Association, which awarded WHO the “Choice” award in December 2021

PAHO, through its Revolving Funds and Strategic Supplies, acquired and delivered 100 million doses of vaccines against Covid-19 to more than 30 countries in the Americas, as well as US$292 million in critical care drugs, personal protection, and diagnostic tests. Other products and information services on covid-19 developed by BIREME include the Windows of Knowledge, Evidence Maps, the e-BlueInfo application, the International GRADE Guides Database, Health Legislation Databases, Open Educational Resources and face-to-face and online courses on scholarly communication in health and access to information.

The commitment of the Federal Government of Brazil to the development and improvement of BIREME, through the Ministry of Health, has just been renewed for another five years, which strengthens the Center's technical cooperation with Brazil and the LA&C countries. In this way, the Center remains resolute in its mission of contributing to the health of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean through the democratization of access and use of information and evidence in health.

PAHO, in its 120 years of history promoting health and well-being throughout the Americas, and BIREME, in its 55 years of democratizing access to health information, have much to be proud of and to celebrate in their rich history of services.