BIREME - Centro Latino-Americano e do Caribe de Informação em Ciências da Saúde

The Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences, also known by its original name Regional Library of Medicine (BIREME, acronym in Portuguese), is a specialized center of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) oriented to technical cooperation in scientific health information. The headquarters of BIREME are located in Brazil, in the central campus of the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP) since its creation in 1967, according to agreement between PAHO and the Government of Brazil.

Technical cooperation is implemented by means of the Virtual Health Library (VHL) , which was launched in March 1998, with the Declaration of San José Towards the Virtual Health Library, approved during the 4th Regional Congress on Health Sciences Information (CRICS4). In this Declaration the country representatives recognize that the access to information constitutes one of the central elements to reach equity in health; that the new information and communication technologies pose risks and opportunities for the human development in the Region and that the Latin American and Caribbean System on Health Sciences Information under the leadership of BIREME has the capability for the control of these technologies, adapting them to the reality of the region. Based on these premises, they made the commitment to cooperatively build the Virtual Health Library (VHL), in order to strengthen capabilities and infrastructures and to facilitate the broad access to the information for the permanent improvement health and for sustainable human development in the region. At the same time, BIREME cooperated with FAPESP (State of São Paulo Research Foundation) from Brazil, on the establishement the Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) as a model for open access cooperative electronic publishing of scientific journals on the Internet.

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