“Basically, everyone needs to be healthy in order to be productive,” said Council for Health Research and Development’s (COHRED) Director Dr. Carel Ijsselmuiden in his keynote message during the 6th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Pasay City on 9 August 2012.
The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) will mark its 31st Anniversary on 18 March 2013, at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila with the theme “People at the Center of Health and Health Research.”
Special guests will be Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario G. Montejo and Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique T. Ona. Dr. Alberto Rumualdez Jr., former Secretary of Health and PCHRD's first Executive Director, will be the anniversary keynote speaker.
Highlights of the celebration are panel discussions featuring people’s health and health research in action. The morning session will tackle the broader issues of sharpening the research community’s listening skills in order to come up with research actions addressing peoples’ health needs while the afternoon session will tackle strategies to improve research utilization by increasing research publication productivity and international visibility.
PCHRD, one of five DOST sectoral councils, coordinates and monitors health research activities in the country. Since its founding on March 17, 1982, it has advocated a strong health research culture and mobilized resources to generate knowledge, technologies and innovations and their use in Philippine healthcare.
Dr. Alvin Marcelo of PhilHealth presents the Philippine eHealth Development Plan
“Information has become a core commodity in a well-functioning health system. In a complex and crucial sector such that of health, management of information requires a strategy that allows stakeholders to securely and optimally use information and communication technology (ICT) to communicate and interact toward improved health outcomes,” stressed Dr. Alvin Marcelo, Chief Information Officer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in his presentation titled, “The Philippine eHealth Development Plan: Leveraging ICT for a More Efficient Health Sector” during the 13th National Forum on Health Research for Action last November 20, 2012.
The Department of Health underlined the health reforms needed for the achievement of the Universal Health Care (UHC) at the 13th National Forum on Health Research for Action last November 20, 2012 at the Pan Pacific Hotel, Manila.
In his speech, delivered by Assistant Secretary Madeleine De Rosas-Valera, the DOH Secretary stressed that evidence-based approach is a crucial element in ensuring that right reforms are made to attain UHC. He said, “Evidence must guide us in charting the next steps for universal health care. Evidence is crucial in sound policy making and implementation.”
Sec. Ona cited possible reforms for Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the local health systems, namely: 1) identifying fair and acceptable fee for doctors and expanding the benefits of PhilHealth; 2) putting the municipal health systems under the provincial government in order to address fragmentation of various local health systems and ensure viability and sustainability of programs in the provinces; and 3) defining rules of engagement and scope of services of the private sector to encourage public-private partnership.
Arguing that the Philippines has institutions devoted to health policy research, Sec. Ona insisted that finding strong research to utilize for policy reforms to achieve Kalusugan Pangkalahatan should not be impossible. “What is needed, instead, is to avoid duplications of research outputs in order to save time, effort and resources. The Philippines can learn from other countries that went through reforms to achieve UHC. Through model examples from countries such as Mexico or Thailand, the Philippines can benchmark strong strategies to achieve the success of our own version of UHC,” said Sec. Ona.
The Secretary asserted that through these reforms the country can finally attain Kalusugan Pangkalahatan. He insisted that the health sector’s full support for evidence-based reforms is needed for the attainment of the UHC. He said, “Let us strengthen the culture of policy research in the health sector and ensure the generation of effective policies and programs that will significantly uplift the health of our people.”
The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure seeking to institutionalize the Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS).
The authors of House Bill 6735 are Reps. Juan Edgardo Angara (Lone District, Aurora), Joseph Emilio Abaya (1st District, Cavite), Angelo Palmones (Party-list, Agham), Lani Mercado-Revilla (2nd District, Cavite), Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao).
Angara said it is important to build the country's capability for research and development because it can fuel the necessary innovation that will lead to a responsive and efficient health care system.
"The country must provide for a favorable research environment wherein government agencies, non-government organizations, public and private hospitals, academic institutions and private agencies can optimize their research activities," Angara said.
Palmones said the PNHRS is a framework of cooperation and resource sharing of the core agencies and stakeholders in health research anchored on the principles of inclusiveness, participation, quality, equity, efficiency and effectiveness.