Women, Maternal and Perinatal VHL

The Virtual Health Library (VHL)Project was submitted by the Latin-American and Caribbean Health Sciences Information Center (BIREME/PAHO) at the 4th Regional Congress on Health Sciences (CRICS4) in San José de Costa Rica in March 1998.

The Virtual Health Library is accessible as a health scientific technical knowledge base, registered, organized and stored in electronic format of the countries in the region. The base is submitted to stringent quality controls, which guarantees its scientific content in compliance with common methodologies. Such model entails the adoption of a new organizational and information treatment paradigm.

Woman, maternal and perinatal health is a major problem in Latin-American and Caribbean countries. Figures analyses show that although there has been a decrease in infant mortality rates over the last decades, there have been insignificant changes in perinatal mortality rates, while maternal mortality rates are still alarming.

Many of the behaviours that have proved efficient in perinatology and maternal care are not used in the region and measures that have proved to be inefficient or even harmful are still being applied.

One of the causes of this state of affairs is the difficulty to access updated, responsible and adequate information concerning woman, maternal and perinatal health. Access to scientific information is an essential tool to improve health care quality.

The Latin-American Center for Perinatology, Woman and Reproductive Health (CLAP/WR-PAHO/WHO),launched the Virtual Library on Maternal and Perinatal Health as an institutional initiative in 2002.

The Woman, maternal and Perinatal VHL is currently facing the challenge of revision and repositioning as regional initiative, coordinated by CLAP/WR-PAHO/WHO in association with prestigious institutions engaged in the promotion of a better life quality for women, mothers and children in the Americas.

The goal is the creation of a network of relevant updated scientific-technical information sources concerning woman, maternal and perinatal health, fostering its use in scientific, educational activities and in health care and promotion among the professsionals, authorities and the general public in the sector.

The Woman, Maternal and Perinatal VHL has as fundamental objectives:

  • To guarantee better access to quality, relevant, updated scientific information to teachers, professionals, students and the general public in Latin America and the Caribbean;
  • To contribute to the management of information and knowledge concerning woman, maternal and perinatal health;

This Virtual Health Library is part of the initiative implemented by regional and national health bodies to fulfil their commitment as subscribers to the Declaration of Costa Rica (1998), Havana-Cuba (2001), Puebla-México (2003), Salvador-Bahía, Brazil (2005) and Río de Janeiro, Brazil (2008).