The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago




The Virtual Health Library (VHL) is a collection or network of health information sources in the Latin American and Caribbean Region, universally accessible on the Internet and compatible with international databases. It is envisioned as a broad base of scientific and technical knowledge in health, entered, organized and stored in electronic format in each country of the Region. The information sources are generated, updated, stored and manipulated on the Internet by the producers, integrators and intermediaries in a decentralized manner using common methodologies for their integration into the VHL.

The objectives for the development of VHL are:

  • To promote the universal and equitable access to health, scientific and technical information
  • To be a space for cooperation among countries in order to strengthen their capacity to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the new technologies of information and communication to promote equity and health
  • To facilitate the management of essential technologies for achieving equitable access to health information
  • To facilitate all citizens access to health information and knowledge necessary for their individual and collective health

The National VHL Initiative for Trinidad and Tobago

The National Initiative is sanctioned by the Ministry of Health, and is supported by the PAHO/Center for Health Information Sciences (BIREME) in Brazil, in collaboration with major stakeholders, the National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) and the Medical Sciences Library of The University of the West Indies at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.

Agreement has been reached among health information professionals in Trinidad and Tobago to adopt and implement the VHL and for participating institutions to collaborate and accept responsibility for undertaking specific sub-project areas in order to ensure success. Of particular interest in the development of the National VHL for Trinidad and Tobago, is the opportunity to encourage the collection and dissemination of local research in health, to utilize the potential for distance education in health, to increase information support to researchers, and to support public health information.

The Virtual Health Library National Advisory Committee

Trinidad and Tobago has taken a positive step towards the establishment of its Virtual Health Library. Cabinet approved the appointment of a Virtual Health Library National Advisory Committee in March 2005.  This follows the work of an interim committee which had been established in 2000 at the conclusion of a Stakeholders’ meeting which was held at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex. The Chairperson of the Committee is the Head of the UWI Medical Sciences Library, who has been charged by Cabinet with the responsibility to lead the Committee for achievement of the agreed objectives and targets. The term of the current National Advisory Committee extends to 2010.  The work of the National Advisory Committee is underpinned by working groups for both content and technical matters. The working groups consist of staff members from the core collaborating institutions.

Overall Objectives
The overall objective of the National Advisory Committee for the Virtual Health Library is to oversee virtual health library functions. The Committee is responsible for the:

  • Development of a national plan for the establishment of the Virtual Health Library
  • Definition and approval of projects
  • Definition and approval of the content of the Virtual Health Library
  • Identification and approval of training requirements
  • Promotion of involvement in consortia in order to facilitate electronic access to documents
  • Evaluation of the performance of the Virtual Health Library
  • Conduct of promotional activities for the Virtual Health Library
  • Organisation of periodic meetings of the Committee with stakeholders

Membership for the term 2008- 2010 includes representatives from the following:

  • Ministry of Health
  • College of Science Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Medical Sciences Library / Faculty of Medical Sciences The University of the West Indies
  • Medical Library, Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
  • National Library and Information System Authority – NALIS
  • Regional Health Authorities
    • Eastern Regional Health Authority
    • North Central Regional Health Authority
    • North West Regional Health Authority
    • South West Regional Health Authority
    • Tobago Regional Health Authority


  • Tobago House of Assembly
  • Ministry of Public Administration
  • PAHO/WHO Trinidad and Tobago
  • Ministry of Local Government

Additional members of the Advisory Committee may be co-opted from the stakeholder community as deemed necessary.

Committee appointed by Cabinet
Persons appointed to the National Virtual Health Library Advisory Committee with effect from September 2008 to August 2010

Mrs. Ernesta Greenidge, Head - Medical Sciences Library

-UWI Medical Sciences Library

Mr. Keith Beharry, Quality Manager


Dr. Carol Boyd-Scobie, Country Representative


Dr. Anton Cumberbatch, Chief Medical Officer

-Ministry of Health

Ms. Camille Forde, Senior Planning Officer

-Ministry of Local Government

Ms. Patrice Forte, Ag. Manager, Medical Records


Mrs. Rosemary Gonzales, Service Manager


Mrs. Indra Maharaj, General Manager, Patient Support Services


Mrs. Leela Sawh-Phekoo, Librarian III

-Port of Spain General Hospital

Mr. Gregory Smith, Administrator

-Tobago House of Assembly

Mrs. Annette Wallace, Executive Director


Ms. Judy Whilby, Director, Library Services


Ms. Carol Yates, Library Consultant, Health Care Information Resources Centre











SEC\Cmtt: VHL: About the TTVHL (Updated July 09)