Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information

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The Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information or BIREME was founded in Brazil in 1967 as the Biblioteca Regional de Medicina (Regional Library of Medicine, hence the acronym), a specialized center of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) / World Health Organization (WHO).


BIREME coordinates the model development of the Virtual Health Library which includes around 20 million references for the access to the scientific and technical literature of the Latin America and Caribbean region.


BIREME is located in São Paulo, Brazil, in the campus of the Universidade Federal de São Paulo – Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo). Since its foundation in 1967, BIREME is established by the agreement between PAHO, Brazilian Ministry of Health, Brazilian Ministry of Education, Secretary of Health of the State of São Paulo, and Unifesp. Since 2009, the agreement coexists with the process of implementation of the new legal statute approved by the 49th Directing Council of PAHO.

BIREME has always met the growing demand for up-to-date scientific literature from the Brazilian health systems and the communities of healthcare researchers, professionals and students. In 1982, its name changed to the current Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information, as to better express its dedication to the strengthening and expansion of the flow of scientific and technical health information across the region, but kept the acronym.

Networking, based on decentralization, on the development of local capacities, on sharing information resources, on developing cooperative products and services, on designing common methodologies, has always been the foundation of BIREME’s technical cooperation work. It has been like this that the center established itself as an international model that fosters professional education with managerial and technical information with the adoption of information and communication paradigms that best meet local needs.

The main foundations that gave origin and which support the existence of BIREME are following:

  • access to scientific and technical health information is essential for the development of health;
  • the need to develop the capacity of Latin American and Caribbean countries to operate their sources of scientific and technical health information in a cooperative and efficient manner;
  • the need to foster the use and to respond to the demands for scientific and technical health information from governments, health systems, educational and research institutions.
  • Activities

    BIREME, as a specialized center PAHO/WHO, coordinates and conducts technical cooperation activities on the management of scientific information and knowledge with the aim of strengthening and expanding the flow of scientific health information in Brazil and in other Latin American and Caribbean countries as a key condition for the development of health, including its planning, management, promotion, research, education, and care.

    The Virtual Health Library (VHL) is the main model of this technical cooperation as a common space for the convergence of the cooperative work of producers, intermediaries, and users of health information.


    Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information Wikipedia

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