Did you know that 70 percent of health care decision-making are based on diagnostic test results? That’s why accurate, reliable, and effective diagnostic tools are crucial in order to improve patient care, protect patient’s health, and reduce the country’s cost of health care spending.

Recognizing the impact of diagnostic tools in healthcare, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCHRD) supports the development of local technologies for the early detection of diseases. Under the Diagnostics Program, the Council prioritizes to address 13 communicable and non-communicable diseases such as HIV AIDS, neglected tropical diseases, emerging infectious diseases, tuberculosis, hepatitis, metabolic diseases, autoimmune diseases, diseases of the cardiovascular, among others.

From 2014 to 2018, the Council has invested more than 32.2 million pesos for research and development (R and D) under this priority area.

The most successful diagnostic test kit developed is the Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit. This is a rapid diagnostic kit to confirm dengue infection in the first 0-5 days of illness, and the results would be known within an hour. Dr. Raul Destura of the University of the Philippines Manila led the development of this kit and spearheads the Manila HealthTek Inc., the spin-off company which produces and sells Biotek- M Kit in the market. In 2017-2018, more than 600 units of Biotek-M Kit were sold.

Three to five years from now, the DOST-PCHRD looks forward to seeing the following diagnostics kits under study to become available in the market.

The University of Manila’s low-cost point-of-care diagnostics for simultaneous detection of Paragonimus westermani and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Because pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) and paragonimiasis share similar symptoms, development of a more accurate and sensitive diagnostic test kit is important for disease surveillance and proper patient care.

The development of an affordable, accurate, near point-of-care diagnostic kit or platform for rapid detection of HIV resistance to Lamivudine and other retrovirals. Lamivudine is an antiretroviral medication used to treat HIV AIDS and chronic Hepatitis B. Long-term use of lamivudine was observed to lead to emergence of resistant HIV and Hepatitis B virus. For people living with HIV, detection of resistant virus is important to be able to help doctors determine the appropriate medication thus, promote better disease management.

Given the complicated nature of the process of diagnosing diseases, technology is key in overcoming challenges that surround precision diagnosis. The DOST-PCHRD will continue to support Filipino researchers to address the lack of rapid and cost-effective diagnostic devices to make Filipino lives better.

In the Philippines where there is poverty and poor access to treatment facilities due to challenges on geographical location, availability of local, affordable, and precise diagnostics tool is key to uplift the quality of healthcare.

That’s why the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCHRD) continues to seek solutions that will help in the early detection of diseases using novel technologies.

In the 4th Talakayang HeaRT Beat held on Luxent Hotel, Quezon City on 21 May 2019, Dr. Jaime Montoya, DOST-PCHRD Executive Director, represented by Supervising Senior Research Specialist, Ms. Elizabeth Cajigas, introduced some of the researches the Council supported under its Diagnostic Program.

The Council’s Diagnostic Program has played a crucial role in evaluating researches that will address 13 priority diseases such as HIV AIDS, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, Metabolic Diseases, among others. The program also covers three specific topics namely point-of-care, screening, confirmatory, and prognostic, and technologies utilizing nucleic acid testing, latex agglutination, lab-on-a-chip, etc.

In past four years, the DOST-PCHRD has a total of 32.2 million pesos investment for this R and D area alone. Other than research grants, the Council also supported capacity building and training, and fostered collaboration and linkages to create a significant and well-equipped research base.

Aside from the success of the Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit, a rapid diagnostic kit to confirm dengue infection, in the market; the DOST-PCHRD is confident that in the next two to three years its other supported projects underway will be used by the Filipinos. These projects include a near point-of-care diagnostic kit or platform for rapid detection of HIV resistance to Lamivudine and other retrovirals.

Talakayang HeaRT Beat,” is a series of press conferences held by DOST-PCHRD to promote awareness in the science and technology programs and projects. Dr. Edsel Maurice T. Salvana, Mr. Angelo dela Tonga, and Dr. Raul Destura of the University of the Philippines Manila participated the press conference.

All 17 regional research consortia worked as one to improve research dissemination and utilization strategies during their bi-annual assembly on 14 March 2019 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City.

In her welcome remarks, Dr. Cecilia Acuin, Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) RU Committee Chair, stressed that research utilization is an important part of the research process in which each member of the System has crucial role to play. “We need the concerted efforts of everyone to broaden our reach and translate this reach to utilization of research results towards societal impact in health,” Dr. Acuin explained.

Highlight of the session was the reporting of the accomplishments of the regional consortia wherein achievements for the published papers, conducted research conferences, and other research dissemination activities were presented. Based from the presentations, members of the consortia agreed that a calendar of activities must be developed in order to keep track of all the regions’ research dissemination and utilization activities for the rest of the year.

Given the accomplishments and identified gaps, the need for more capacity building efforts was emphasized in terms of developing websites and social media, writing articles and policy notes, as well as creating capacities for managing and utilizing health research.

The RU meeting is part of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development’s 37th Anniversary pre-conference session which aims to gain insights on how health research dissemination and utilization can be strengthened across the regions.

Did you know that all women, regardless of age, race, and lifestyle, are at risk of cervical cancer? But did you also know that it is highly preventable and curable?

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus transmitted through sexual activities. The probability of a woman acquiring the virus in her lifetime is at 75-80%; however, the virus does not always develop into cancer. Smoking, having multiple sexual partners, early sexual activity, long-term use of oral contraception, a weak immune system, and the history of cervical cancer within the family increase the risk of the virus developing into cancer.

The symptoms of the disease in its late stages include vaginal bleeding beyond the menstruation period, unpleasant vaginal discharge, and abdominal pain or swelling.

How do I prevent cervical cancer?

Despite being one of the most preventable and curable types of cancer, the Philippines loses about 3,800 women to cervical cancer yearly. The key to cervical cancer prevention is early detection. It was only in 2003 when the campaign for cervical cancer awareness and prevention was strengthened. Through Proclamation no. 368, May was declared the official cervical cancer awareness month. The campaign eventually carried the slogan “Babae, Mahalaga ka,” which encouraged Filipinas to get checked regularly through free cervical cancer screenings. When detected in its early stage, cervical cancer is still curable.

Several methods can be used for screenings such as the VIA (visual inspection using acetic acid) and pap smear. According to a study by the University of the Philippines- Department of Health Cervical Cancer Screening Health Operations Research Project, the VIA was found to be the most effective and cost-effective screening method. For preventative measures, HPV vaccines are available and may be given to patients as young as 9 years old. The effect of the vaccine lasts a lifetime and has been proven to be safe for all.

Despite these alternatives, cervical cancer is the 2nd most common cancers among Filipinas.

Several studies have been done about the cervical cancer in the Philippines and may be found in the Health Research and Development Information Network (HERDIN) such as the “Epidemiology, prevention and treatment of cervical cancer in the Philippines,” “Delineation of an appropriate and replicable cervical cancer screening program for Filipino women,” and “Knowledge and attitudes of female students on Pap Smear for diagnosis of cervical cancer, Cebu Institute of Medicine SY 2013-2014.” Aside from studies on cervical cancer, HERDIN has an array of more than 50,000 studies in other areas of health. HERDIN is an electronic database of both published and unpublished studies related to health research.








16th National Medical Writing Workshop and
9th Writeshop for Young Researchers

Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
 12-13 August 2019
Organized by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) and the 
Philippine Association of Medical Journal Editors (PAMJE),
Endorsed by the Asia Pacific Association of Medical Journal Editors (APAME)
Application deadline: May 15, 2019
REGISTRATION IS FREE (limited slots only)

The Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) in cooperation with Philippine Association of Medical Journal Editors (PAMJE) Inc. and Asia Pacific Association of Medical Journal Editors (APAME) is organizing the 16th National Medical Writing Workshop and 9th Writeshop for Young Researchers on 12-13 August 2019 in Cagayan De Oro. The workshop aims to help young investigators in health and health social sciences acquire practical knowledge and skills in preparing a scientific article for publication in a scholarly peer-reviewed journal. Successful applicants will be granted free workshop registration, accommodation and meals during the workshop, and will be assigned to a mentor-facilitator who will guide them in preparing their articles for a brief presentation.

Requirements for participants

The workshop is designed for a maximum of forty (40) researchers in health sciences and health social sciences, aged 40 years old and below, who have a research project completed not more than 2 years ago and have drafted a publication-ready manuscript of maximum 2,500 - 3,000 words, formatted for submission to a scholarly biomedical journal. Note that thesis, dissertations, and technical reports in original format and length do not qualify. 
The selected draft manuscripts will be reviewed and revised during the workshop, based on the lectures and exercises, under the guidance of the faculty and mentor – facilitators. All participants are expected to present a 7-minute power point summary of their revised manuscripts on the second day of the workshop, and agree to submit the article to an appropriate scholarly peer-reviewed journal within three (3) months after the workshop.


Applicants should send the following requirements via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on or before May 15, 2019.
  1. Fill out the application form (Link: tinyurl.com/16thNMWW).
  2. Conforme slip (Link: tinyurl.com/NMWWConformeSlip)
  3. Abstract (in .docx and .pdf format)
  4. Draft of Journal Manuscript (in .docx and .pdf format) 
  5. Instructions to Authors for the target journal (This is a free document downloadable from the website of your prospective journal.)
Please use this subject format in your email: Application_16th Writeshop_(Surname)
Please save your documents in this format:
  • Conforme Slip_(Surname)
  • Abstract_(Surname)
  • Manuscript_(Surname)
  • ITA_(Surname)
The results of the selection of participants for the Workshop will be communicated on June 5, 2019.

Should you have any concern, do not hesitate to contact Ms. Quiella Landicho (e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; tel. no.: (02) 837-7534 loc. 203/204).