Every year, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) goes around the different regions to showcase notable outputs from research and development.  In the recently concluded Caraga Regional Science and Technology Week in Butuan on 5-8 September, 2018, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña presented 15 breakthrough technologies from the different DOST agencies.  

 Three out of the 15 R&D programs and projects cited by the Secretary were supported and/or implemented by the of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development are as follows:

  1. Standardized and Clinically-tested Herbal Medicine
  • Tuklas Lunas Program

One of the health research and development priorities under the Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda (HNRDA) and the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) 2017-2022, Tuklas Lunas or the Philippine Drug Discovery and Development Program aims to develop standardized herbal drugs from the country’s marine and terrestrial resources.Successful outputs of the program include the  commercialization of lagundi tablets for cough and sambong as anti-urolithasis or for treating kidney stones. The program also aims to establish Tuklas Lunas Development Centers (TLDCs), which will serve as screening and extraction centers in Higher Education Institutes (HEIs).  

  • Leptovax

An animal vaccine developed by the University of the Philippines Manila to protect housepets and livestock from the Leptospira bacteria transmitted by rats. LeptoVax aims to address and mitigate outbreaks of leptospirosis in the country. While trials are still not fully complete, the developers are looking forward to test the vaccine to larger animals like carabaos and dogs, and also be able to eventually produce a vaccine that can be used in humans.

  1. Medical Implants

A total knee replacement system developed for Asian and Filipino  body structure, the axis knee system provides a more affordable knee replacement system which uses a novel instrument to ensure correct knee alignment. Manufactured locally by Orthopaedic International Inc., the patented instrument and surgical technique allows general orthopedic surgeons to perform the procedure accurately even without the use of x-rays. 

  1. Diagnostic Kits

Developed by the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila, the Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit is a confirmatory test for dengue that allows faster results while remaining affordable compared to other Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests. The development of Biotek-M also resulted in the University of the Philippines’ first spin-off company, Manila HealthTek Inc., which now manufactures and distributes the devices commercially.

 

Aside from three PCHRD-initiated and supported breakthroughs, the Secretary also presented biofertilizers and plant growth enhancers, protein rich copra meal, agriculture and aquaculture productivity technologies, native livestock purelines technology, educational tools, supplementary foods and ready-to-eat foods for disaster victims, water treatment materials, among others.

In closing, the Secretary highlighted the significance of technology transfer and adoption of these technologies in the country. He encouraged different sectors in the region to work together in the spirit of cooperation for collective prosperity.

 The Caraga Regional Science and Technology Week is part of the National Science Technology Week Celebrations which aims to bring the Department’s technologies, programs, and services to the regions. The event also featured project visits including the Eel Farm in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte, Hillsview and VPO Enterprises in Trento and Rosario, Agusal del Sur.

For more information on other upcoming RSTW celebrations, please visit http://nstw.dost.gov.ph/




Misdiagnosis of parasitic infections remains a challenge in the Philippines, particularly in remote areas where medical technologists (MTs) may lack necessary expertise for accurate diagnosis of less common parasitic infections. This is further complicated by the lack of a formal referral system where MTs can verify their diagnosis. Misdiagnosis results in inappropriate treatment of patients, thereby contributing to continuing morbidity and infection transmission. Accurate and timely diagnosis of parasitic infections is essential for appropriate treatment, as well as for generation of accurate data to support advocacy and policy formulation for the prevention and control of parasitic infections.

To address this challenge, a team from the College of Public Health and the National Telehealth Center in the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila, led by Dr. Vicente Belizario, Jr., has developed and is testing the Medical Teleparasitology (MTP) system through the grant provided by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).

MTP uses information and communications technology (ICT) to provide a referral system that links MTs in peripheral laboratories to a pool of expert diagnostic parasitologists. Through the MTP, the MTs registered in the system can send the digital image of the parasite and their initial diagnosis which are then verified by expert diagnostic parasitologists. Digital images of the parasites are stored in the image bank which can be accessed by MTs for future reference. MTs in the peripheral laboratories also send monthly reports of parasitic infections which they have diagnosed. These monthly reports are stored in the MTP database which can be used to map the distribution of parasitic infections in the participating regions. These, in turn, may help in formulation or enhancement of policy for prevention and control of parasitic infections. Registered users also have access to the online Parasitology Forum, where users can discuss topics relevant to medical parasitology. MTP is able to capacitate MTs in their critical role of providing accurate and timely diagnosis of parasitic infections.

The MTP system is currently implemented in the Cordillera, Zamboanga, and Davao Regions through collaboration with the Department of Health Regional Offices and other partners, such as Saint Louis University-School of Medicine.

If you wish to know more about the MTP system, please visit the MTP site at https://mtp.telehealth.ph/site/ or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the Facebook page of DOST-PCHRD.

“Learning does not end after graduation. It is a continuous journey that only those with receptive minds and humble hearts can embark on.” A practical advice from Dr. Arturo Dela Pena, Chief Executive Officer and President of St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) to the graduates of the 20th Commencement Exercises of St. Luke’s College of Medicine on 15 July 2018.

Four scholars namely Alexis Labrador, John Paul Llido, Neil Jade Palude, and Jerica Isabel Reyes earned their Master’s degree in Molecular Medicine under the Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resources Development Program (ASTHRDP). ASTHRDP is a scholarship program offered by DOST-Science Education Institute, in partnership with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).

Proving their excellence and commitment to science, the four scholars maintained good academic standing throughout their stay in the program. The scholars are very well versed in the studies of the latest biotechnologies such as cell-based therapies, gene-therapies, targeted therapies, biomarker technologies, molecular diagnostic, pharmacogenomics, and personalized medicine.

MS Molecular Medicine Program is a joint initiative of the DOST, through PCHRD, and SLCM which aims to produce adept laboratory researchers capable of pioneering innovative health researches as basis for future health policies. Indeed, through the program, the scholars were able to upgrade their skills for the application of molecular medicine in the clinical setting. More specifically, the students are able to obtain firm foundation in the bio medical sciences and relevant emerging technologies and receive training in a broad spectrum of the application of molecular medicine.

Every year, PCHRD search for potential scholars with great mind and vision in the hopes that their talent reinforced by education and training will benefit the health research and development agenda of the country particularly in molecular medicine. Now more than ever, we need more researchers and explorers that will find solutions to the health needs of the Filipinos through research and innovation.

For more information on DOST-PCHRD funded scholarships, visit www.pchrd.dost.gov.ph




Know the common blood diseases and nutrients for healthy blood

Blood plays important functions for the body. Composed of plasma, white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets, blood circulates through our body and transports oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removes waste from the cells.

As we celebrate Blood Diseases Month by virtue of the Proclamation No. 1833 declared by the former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2009, here are some common blood diseases and ways to keep your blood healthy:

Common blood diseases

  • Anemia, the most common blood disorder in the general population, is a condition in which the body lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein inside the red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.

A person with anemia experiences shortness of breath, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, headache, chest pain, dizziness, pale skin, and insomnia.

In treating anemia, the primary aim is to increase the number of healthy red blood cells in the body. Depending on the type of anemia, common treatment for anemic persons includes iron supplements intake, change of diet, blood transfusions, and chemotherapy or bone marrow transplant.

  • Hemophilia is a genetic disorder which affects the blood's ability to clot due to low levels of blood-clotting proteins.

Signs and symptoms of hemophilia varies on the levels of clotting factor. People with mild deficiency may bleed after a surgery or trauma, while in severe cases, spontaneous bleeding occurs.

There is no cure yet for this condition. The only treatment available for hemophilia is replacement therapy wherein, concentrates of clotting factor VIII (for hemophilia A) and IX (for hemophilia B) are slowly dripped or injected into the vein. This helps in replacing the defective clotting factor of the blood.

  • Leukemia is a type of cancer which affects the blood and bone marrow. The cancer happens when the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. These cells overpower the healthy blood cells and continue to increase and occupy more space, making it hard for healthy white blood cells to function normally.

Leukemia comes with two different types- acute and chronic.  Acute leukemia grows rapidly while chronic leukemia grows slowly.  

The causes of leukemia are still unknown. However, there are some factors that increases the risk of developing the cancer such as exposure to radiation and chemicals like benzene, cigarette smoking, hair dyes, family history of the same case, and genetic disorders such as down syndrome. Early signs of this condition include weight loss, fevers or chills, frequent infections, bone and joint pain, bleeding and bruising problem, tiredness, and weight and appetite loss.

Treatment for this condition depends on the type of leukemia and the person's health treatment capability. Types of treatment involves chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immune therapy, stem cell therapy, and surgery.

Nutrients for healthy blood

Changing your lifestyle especially your diet could help keep your blood on track and healthy.  Foods rich in iron, vitamin B-12, vitamin B6, vitamin A, and vitamin B-9 are essential in order for your blood to function well.

Iron is an important nutrient that increases the production of red blood cells. Food rich in iron are red meat, organ meat, beans, cereals, tofu, dark chocolate, and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage.

Vitamin A is essential in normal development of stem cells into red blood cells. It is also needed for the immune system to function normally and actively. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, tuna fish, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and dark leafy green vegetables such as kale and lettuce.

Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is a water-soluble vitamin which supports glucose and protein metabolism. It also supports the production of hemoglobin, a protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Vitamin B6 is essential in nurturing and maintaining blood health. This vitamin can be found in chicken, bananas, tomatoes, whole grains, nuts, green beans, liver, and fish.

Vitamin B-9 or folic acid helps in protein metabolism and RNA/DNA production and repair. It is vital in making red blood cells. Best sources of folate include nuts, dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, lettuce, and edible greens such as asparagus, beans, and breads.

Vitamin B12 keeps nerve tissues healthy and sustain blood cell production. Animal products such as fish, red meat, eggs, and dairy products like milk and cheese naturally contains vitamin B-12

Blood diseases could be very dangerous especially if not treated properly and immediately. Celebrating Blood Diseases Month serves as an avenue to raise people’s awareness and understanding of blood-related diseases.

In support with its advocacy of disseminating health research information, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development invites medical and research institutions and practitioners, universities, laboratories, and other partner institutions to publish their researches and other health-related information in Health Research and Development Information Network (HERDIN), an online database that enables online publishing, exchanging, and dissemination of quality health information in the Philippines.

For more information HERDIN and other blood-related researches, visit HERDIN’s website at http://www.herdin.ph/


Source: American Society of Hematology

The Department of Health (DOH), through its AHEAD (Advancing Health through Evidence-Assisted Decisions) strategy, aims to inform the health sector’s global and national administrative and legislative policy agenda, create an equitable and enabling environment for health policy and systems researchers all over the country, and ensure the progressive realization of the envisioned research system.

With the continued commitment of DOH in training the next generation for health sector leaders, researchers, policy analysts, and program managers, they have partnered with the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research Development (DOST-PCHRD) in order to implement the DOH Research Fellowship Program.

The program is a two-year intensive Health Policy and Systems Research Fellowship intended for early career professionals who are considering a career in research. A pre-fellowship or internship is being made available for highly qualified applicants who demonstrate interest in health policy and systems research in the context of research to policy translation. Graduates of the internship program may proceed to apply to the fellowship program.

Objective:

To develop capacity of Health Policy and Systems Research Interns in the process of research to policy translation

Deliverables:

1. Standard deliverables
     a. Accomplishment report approved by the DOH supervisor every month
     b. Back-to-Office report for all meetings/workshops attended
     c. Technical report for all meetings/workshops organized
     d. One brown bag session organized or facilitated every month
     e. At least 5 memoranda every month
2. Station-dependent, in addition to #1:
     a. At least 2 policy reviews every month; includes drafting policy issuances as maybe needed, if deployed to Health Policy Division
     b. At least 2 program strategy, and performance/plan analysis and budget analysis every month, if deployed to Health Planning Division
     c. At least 2 position papers every month, if deployed to the Legislative Liaison Division

Responsibilities

1. Adhere to agency policies, procedures, and rules governing professional behaviour

2. Be punctual, and work the required number of hours: 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday
3. Notify their supervisor if they are unable to attend
4. Behave and dress appropriately to the particular workplace
5. Respect the confidentiality of the workplace, its clients and its employees.
6. If things are slow, take the initiative and volunteer for different tasks or other work.
7. Discuss any problems with their supervisor and, if necessary, with the Internship coordinator at the Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau
8. Other technical tasks as may be required

Minimum Qualifications:

1. Bachelor’s degree, field of study must be on public health or any related area in the social and medical sciences; post-graduate degree is an advantage
2. At least one (1) year work experience, previous work experience in DOH is a plus factor
3. At least eight (8) hours of relevant training

Requirements:

1. A genuine interest in health policy issues
2. Excellent English-language writing skills and the ability to present information in a variety of formats and styles for difference audiences
3. Strong skills in planning, preparing and delivering remarks
4. Strong organizational and administrative skills; with keen attention to detail
5. Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work well in a team with others
6. Ability to develop work plans, set deadlines, work well with minimal supervision, prioritize assignments, and organize multiple projects and duties simultaneously while meeting deadlines
7. Ability to work effectively as a member of a team, know when to act independently and when to consult for advice on decision-making
8. A willingness to carry out a wide range of activities, including both professional and logistical tasks
9. Strong computer skills with familiarity with Microsoft Office, email clients, Internet research, and social networking tools
10. Flexibility with respect to schedule, working hours, travel, and work assignments, including ability to work overtime or on weekends when necessary; reliable job attendance essential

Duration:

Two years, non-renewable

Compensation/Stipend:
For BS/BA degree holders: At least PHP 25,000.00 NETT
For MS/MA degree holders: At least PHP 30,000.00 NETT

Expression of Interest:

Qualified applicants may file their application together with the following documents at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:

1. Cover letter addressed to:

KENNETH G. RONQUILLO, MD, MPHM, CESO III
Director IV
Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau
Department of Health

2. Curriculum Vitae

Deadline of submission is on or before September 18, 2018.

For queries, contact Ms. Juanita R. Valeza at 651-7800 local 1326/1328 or Ms. Ian Hannah C. Gozun at (02) 837-2071 local 2117.