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

P06 - SANITAS: The Virtual Health Directory of the Caribbean; 3rd edition

To create an information source in a directory format, a subject guide of websites devoted to the dissemination of original health / health related information published by each country affiliated to the Association of Caribbean University, Research, and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL).   
UNICA, the Association of Caribbean Universities, the parent organization of the Association of Caribbean University, Research, and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL) requested the development of a health information project. ACURIL delegated this task to medical librarians Santos-Corrada and Del-Valle-López, from the Conrado F. Asenjo Library of the Medical Sciences Campus (MSC), University of Puerto Rico (UPR),  who proposed the creation of a directory. Web hosted in UNIVERSIA.pr, the Directory’s first edition was presented in 2003, at the ACURIL XXX Annual Conference, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
To develop the Directory’s first editio n the creation of a model in the official languages of ACURIL, English, Spanish and French was necessary. In order to serve as a prototype, SANITAS Puerto Rico was created. Websites devoted to health topics either of private or public provenance were identified and organized according to the main topics of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Subject Headings. Committed to equity, SANITAS considers the multilingual and multicultural environment. For Spanish and French, DeCS and Insern, were used. The first presentation of the model was in 2003, at ACURIL XXX Annual Conference, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Participant institutions with liaisons to health information were identified, with the intention to replicate Puerto Rico’s prototype. Feedback and evaluation were received and a survey was distributed among participants. Appropriate changes were included in the second edition presented in ACURIL XXXIV held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2004. The Directory serves three main purposes: (1) to facilitate acc ess to some elusive health information, (2) to promote the use of standards for publication of health Information in the WWW, (3) to be a model for other disciplines.
The third edition of SANITAS presented in ACURIL XXXV 2005 held in Fort-of-France, Martinique demonstrates that it is possible to create a project in which the cooperation between medical librarians or designated personnel affiliated to ACURIL could create a free access directory available at http://www.universia.pr/sanitas.  Current participants are: Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, Aruba, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, and Puerto Rico.
SANITAS is an ongoing project that benefits all health information consumers in the Caribbean Region. It promotes cooperation and unity within diversity, as established in ACURIL’s institutional motto. We encourage all countries to access health information compiled in SANITAS: the Virtual Health Dir ectory of the Caribbean.