9º World Congress on Health Information and Libraries

Salvador, Bahia - Brazil, September, 20 to 23 - 2005


4th Regional Coordination Meeting of the VHL

September, 19 to 20 - 2005

P161 - The Health Observatory of the Legal Amazon: an information network for the improvement of health services in the region

Brazil’s Legal Amazon covers 60% of the national territory, 9 states of the federation and 20 million people spread across 5 million squared kilometers. In order to provide efficient health services to this population in a decentralized manner, a major Health Plan for the Legal Amazon (PSAL) has been conducted in the region by the Brazilian Government. To date, we are implementing a technological infrastructure to allow the flow of information across this vast area, and to provide immediate health and management solutions for the population and local governments, as well as to the boarding areas with other South American countries. This infra-structure is called Observatório da Saúde da Amazônia Legal. It is composed of an information highway connected at first by 750 satellite connections spread over strategic points of the Amazon. This highway shares the structure implemented for the Sipam – System for the Protection of the Amazon, a 20 year-old initiative of the Brazilian Government that provides secu rity and assistance services for the local populations.
The main goal of the Health Observatory is to organize, consolidate, systematize and georeferenciate strategic information in order to monitor and evaluate the public health policies, projects and actions, giving support the government’s decision making (in the local, state and federal levels) and the sustainable development of the region. We have designed an information data bank with all the information about Health issues in the Amazon, such as: epidemic and sanitary information, social and political infra-structure, communication, security, health programs, etc. This information is georeferenced by state, region and provinces, with thematic maps that concentrates all the information sources in many levels of granularity.
The methodology for the implementation of the Observatory is composed of the following elements: a Project Coordination Group based in Brasília; an information network connecting approximately the locations; a human resources infra-strucuture, initially composed by local health professionals, and with the support of dedicated teams of sanitarists and epidemiologists; articulation with state and local governments; creation and sharing of a telemedicine infrastructure of partnering institutions of the government and private initiatives for remote assistance; an information center for editing, cartographic and georeferencing technologies (such as MapServer and ArqView).