The 2020 World Congress of Bioethics confers the Medard Hilhorst for Oceania region  prize to the poster, “When Reviewers are Reviewed: obstacles and ethical dilemmas when ethics reviewers themselves are the subjects of study,” based on  a study funded by the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).

From the project “Gender Competence in Ethics Review in the Philippines” led by Professor Fatima Alvarez Castillo, current president of the Social Inquiry and Building Capacities in Research, Inc. (SIBCRI), the winning poster highlights ethical dilemmas encountered in the aforementioned study. The poster was authored by Daphne Joyce Maza and Joel Estacio who were assistant investigators of the project.

In the study, gender competence is defined as the “knowledge and ability to recognize risks, harm, vulnerabilities, discrimination, and other forms of unfairness for research participants that ensue from gender.” To examine gender competence in Philippine ethics review, the researchers interviewed ethics reviewers and gender experts.

We realize that gender issues are often unrecognized or unseen even among those who are highly educated,” Prof. Castillo said about the team’s motivation in pursuing the project. This was affirmed by the results of the study which found that there is a need for considerable improvements in gender competence among  ethics reviewers. Aside from misconceptions about gender, there were gaps in addressing gender issues in ethics review.

One recommendation of the research team is for the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB) to create policies that could strengthen the gender competence of research ethics committees. The PHREB may identify gender competence as a mainstream competence among RECs, incorporating it in the accreditation processes of RECS as well as in capacity building activities and programs.

As the national coordinating agency for health research efforts in the country, we recognize ethics review as an equally important part of the research process,” said DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Jaime Montoya. “We must ensure that our health research community gears towards the advancement of healthcare without compromising the rights and welfare of research participants regardless of gender,” added Dr. Montoya.

From the team’s experience in joining the 2020 World Congress of Bioethics, Prof. Castillo encourages the country’s bioethics community to take an active role in fostering a robust ethical research culture in the country by continuing to study and address existing issues in ethics review. Having faced challenges as well in conducting their study, Prof. Castillo advises researchers to persevere and collaborate with their respective ethics committees to overcome obstacles.

The submission “Gender Competence in Ethics Review in the Philippines” was also shortlisted for the Mark Ehrenreich Prize in Healthcare Ethics for the Oceania region, a paper presentation category in the 2020 World Congress of Bioethics. The co-investigators of the study are Nimfa Bracamonte, Ernesto Gregorio Jr and Erlinda Palaganas.


As the Philippines enters the peak typhoon season, small islands like Marinduque are placed at a higher risk to extreme weather events a looming plight that coincides with the still existing COVID-19 pandemic.

When there is an impending weather event, it is vital to assess its health risks to vulnerable communities. This will enable locals and officials to act and prepare with sufficient time to avoid threats to health, harm, and casualties. Coupled with early warning systems, populations at greater risk will be equipped with proper tools to get useful information for better disaster preparedness and response.

This is the impetus for Dr. Delia Senoro’s team at Mapua University in devising the eSalba mobile and web-based application that empowers both households and local government units (LGUs) to strengthen the health resiliency of small communities by enabling locals to report an incident to authorities, thereby allowing quicker and more coordinated disaster response of LGUs as it provides locations of reporters, responders, evacuation and health centers in the community.


As an assistive, modernized, and enhanced early warning and communication tool, one unique feature of eSalba is that it generates data for health vulnerability map of communities, allowing locals, decision-makers, and responders to view populations that are most vulnerable to health-related outcomes brought by disasters and other socioeconomic factors. 

With the capability to warn about possible health disease outbreaks in a specific area, the app will strengthen preparedness and management of LGUs to both impending disasters and health-related problems as it provides useful information needed for short-term response and long-term policymaking, development, and improvement.

Planned to benefit the LGUs, particularly barangay and municipal health workers, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (DRRMOs) at the municipal and provincial level, the eSalba is expected to reach the communities in Marinduque before September 2020. 

This initiative is a component of the program commonly referred to as D-HIVE (Development of Health Index: Vulnerability to Extreme Environmental Events) for Marinduque Island, funded under the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (DRR-CCA) research program of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).

The app has undergone its first test run last June 29, 2020 which was participated in by 42 Marinduque locals composed of barangay officials, local health workers, SK Chairperson, MDRRMO staff, and D-HIVE Team.

To advance disaster response among health care professionals and first responders, a team of researchers from the University of the Philippines Manila - National Institutes of Health (UPM-NIH) is establishing a Simulation-Based Learning Laboratory which shall house realistic outcomes-based training designed to replicate experiences of disasters for better preparedness.

The simulation-based learning laboratories are cheaper means of conducting realistic training techniques that improve preparedness for patient care, staff management, and interagency coordination, not only for managers and responders but also for the general public.

Funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, the said laboratory is part of the program titled “Center for Innovations for Cost-Effective Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Health (DRMM-H) Outcomes in NCR and the Philippines” led by Dr. Carlos Primero Gundran, professor at the Institute of Health Policy and Development Studies

Learned things not practiced are easily lost and forgotten. In order for muscle memory to be developed, we should immediately apply the theories we learned during training. Simulation-Based learning is thus essential in decreasing morbidity and mortality during disaster response,” said Dr. Gundran.

The team is formulating simulation training plans which consist of exercises designed to enhance memory, tabletop exercises from scene to hospital, testing communication effectiveness, and immediate patient care, among others, as part of the program’s overall objectives.

The project also aims to determine the training needs of healthcare workers and first responders in health response and identify available simulation training hardware and software around the world that can be used in DRRM-H programs. The laboratory will also benefit government agencies, NGOs responding to disasters, institutes, and trainers.

Simulation-based learning is being used in medical education to develop health professionals’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes, whilst protecting patients from unnecessary risks, as it provides a valuable tool in learning and resolving practical dilemmas.

The project is part of the Niche Centre in the Region for R & D or NICER, a sub-program of DOST’s Science for Change which aims to advance the level of innovation in the country by providing R & D funding for public and private institutions to strengthen research in the regions. For more details about NICER, catch the replay of DOST’s report here.

Call for Research Proposals: AHEAD-HPSR Program

The Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) is pleased to announce the first call for research proposals for the Advancing Health through Evidence-Assisted Decisions with Health Policy and Systems Research (AHEAD-HPSR) Program.

Interested institutions, organizations, and researchers are invited to submit a full proposal on any of the topics listed below.

1. A Situational Analysis on the Drug Shortages and Stock-outs in the Philippines: Causes, Frequency, Impact and Management Strategies
2. Behavior Change, Social and Economic Outcomes of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and General Community Quarantine (GCQ): Phase 1- National Capital Region (NCR)

Interested institutions, organizations, and researchers are invited to submit a full proposal on any of the topics hereto attached.

Kindly submit your proposal and the following requirements to Ms. Guidita L. Gelera at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Ms. Clarissa B. Reyes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  1. Letter of Intent
  2. Project Proposal following the PCHRD Detailed Proposal Form
  3. Workplan Schedule (Gantt Chart of Activities)
  4. Proposed Line-Item Budget (LIB)
  5. Informed Consent Form (for studies involving human subjects)
  6. Curriculum Vitae of lead proponent (Principal Investigator/Project Leader)
  7. Duties and Responsibilities of each project personnel
  8. Profile of the institution
  9. Endorsement of agency head

For queries, you may contact Ms. Clarissa B. Reyes.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) is now accepting proposals for the study, Potential Fraud Index Claims for the years 2019-2020.This study is part of the PhilHealth STUDIES (Strengthening the Thrust for Universal Health Care through Data, Information, and Knowledge Exchange Systems) project, a collaboration between PCHRD and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).PhilHealth STUDIES provides funding for R&D, capacity building, and research dissemination projects focusing on the development of evidence-based policy recommendations on PhilHealth programs and services.

The Terms of References can be downloaded here and the PCHRD proposal forms here.


Filipinos with at least a Master’s Degree in a relevant field, have proven research competence/track record, and employed in universities/colleges, research institutes, hospitals, and other health-related agencies are eligible to apply for the research grant. Interested private foundations and firms, engaged in scientific activities, must be registered as a Science & Technology Foundation under the DOST Science and Technology Foundation Unit ( to be eligible for the grant.


We encourage interested parties to submit the following documents via email to Mr. Marc Enrico Hasta at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. not later than August 7, 2020.

  1. Letter of Intent addressed to PCHRD Executive Director
  2. Project Proposal following the PCHRD Detailed Proposal Form
  3. Workplan Schedule (Gantt Chart of Activities)
  4. Proposed Line-Item Budget (LIB)
  5. Curriculum Vitae of lead proponent (Project Leader)
  6. Duties and Responsibilities of each project personnel
  7. Profile of the institution
  8. Endorsement of the agency head

For more information, please contact Mr. Marc Enrico Hasta via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the mobile number 0927-152-2891 (Globe).