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Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information


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Founded in Brazil in 1967 under the name of Regional Medicine Library – which the acronym BIREME comes from in Portuguese (BIblioteca REgional de MEdicina), it 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. Then, in 1982, its name changed to Latin-American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information so 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-technical health information in a cooperative and efficient manner;
  • the need to foster the use and to respond to the demands for scientific-technical health information from governments, health systems, educational and research institutions.

BIREME, as a specialized center of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) / World Health Organization (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 agreement that supports BIREME is renewed every five years by the members of the National Advisory Committee of the institution (PAHO, Brazilian Ministry of Health, Brazilian Ministry of Education and Culture, Secretary of Health of the State of São Paulo, and Federal University of São Paulo – Unifesp). The latter provides the physical infrastructure necessary for the establishment of the institution.

BIREME has developed the Virtual Health Library model as a common space for the convergence of the cooperative work of producers, intermediaries, and users of health information.

In 2004 the institution took on the responsibility of becoming a knowledge-based institution.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Latin_American_and_Caribbean_Center_on_Health_Sciences_Information". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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