MSU-IIT awarded as 1st Tuklas Lunas Center

During its 30th anniversary last 16 March 2012, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) awarded the Mindanao State University–Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) as the first Tuklas Lunas Center under the Council’s Natural Substance Research Program.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) Scholars Society (PSS) held its first convention with the theme "21st Century Skills for Researchers" at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila on 20 March 2012.

"21st century skill" refer to the growing global framework that redefines the goals of education, to transform how learning is practiced, and to expand the range of measures in students' achievement to meet the new demands of the 21st Century.

Dr. Josefina Tuazon, former Dean of the College of Nursing, University of the Philippines Manila (UPM) and President of PSS said "21st century skills" revolved around three major skills: life and career, learning and innovation, and information and communication technology (ICT). "In order to be productive in the 21st century, we should have the ability to quickly learn from the core of knowledge, master the essentials of innovation and technology to adapt to the increasingly information-driven and technologically-powered society. As researchers, we don’t just need statistics we need to have skills on ethical research, skills on technical writing and literacy on ICT. Researches should be publishable and can contribute to new knowledge, and most importantly, have impact to the community."


In the plenary sessions, the following topics were discussed: Influencing policies and practices in health research by Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-de la Paz, Director of the Institute of Human Genetics, National Institute of Health (NIH-UPM); Ethical guidelines and issues concerning human subjects in health research by Dr. Godofreda Dalmacion, Assistant Director of the Institute of Clinical Epidemiology NIH-UPM; and Best evidences in preventing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) by Dr. John Juliard Go, the National Professional Officer on Non-Communicable Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In his inspirational message, Dr. Jaime Montoya, PCHRD Executive Director emphasized the importance of investing in human resource to produce skilled and productive human capital for competitive Philippine and global markets. He also encouraged scholars to be involved in research and be part of PCHRD’s pool of research proposal evaluators and mentors.

Dr. Montoya also emphasized the importance of partnership and collaboration, “We are happy to work with you, with your intelligence, energy, sense of purpose and commitment - the country needs what you have to offer now, more than ever,” stressed Dr. Montoya.

The PSS was organized in 2007 to help PCHRD strengthen its effort to sustain an enabling environment for health research and provide avenue for health research information exchange among PCHRD scholars.

Dr. Leonardo de Castro presented the 2011 edition of the National Ethical Guidelines for Health Research during the 30th anniversary celebration of the PCHRD-DOST.

Responding to the changing landscape of national health research system, the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB) led by its Chair, Dr. Leonardo de Castro launched the 2011 edition of the National Ethical Guidelines for Health Research during the 30th anniversary of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) at the Shangri-La Hotel, Makati City last March 16, 2012.

The National Ethical Guidelines for Health Research 2011 is the updated version of the 2006 guidelines. Guidelines for carrying out researches on clinical trials, herbal medicine, complementary

"Rabies-free Philippines is still possible in 2020," said Dr. Victor Atienza, Assistant Director of the Bureau of Animal Industry, Department of Agriculture (DA-BAI) and Chair of the National Rabies Committee, during the Quezon City Rabies Prevention and Control Summit on 22 March 2012, held at Bulwagang Amoranto, Quezon City Hall.

"Though the Philippines is still ranked 6th among countries with the highest rabies incidence in the world, there is still a possibility for the country to meet the target of becoming rabies-free in 2020," said Dr. Atienza.

"In fact, we already have communities that have been declared as rabies-free in the country. Among these communities are Camiguin of Region X, Siquijor of Region VII, Batanes of Region II, and five areas in Cebu."

Dr. Atienza also announced that animal rabies cases declined by more than 62 percent - from 2,550 cases in 2001 to 451 cases in 2011.

Out of 2,207 animal samples examined in 2011, only 451 cases were confirmed for rabies. "This indicates a significant decline in rabies incidence," explained Dr. Atienza.

The top provinces for animal rabies cases in 2011 are Region X (69 cases), Region IVA (58 cases), Region VII (48 cases), Region I (45 cases) and Region V (33 cases). 98% of animal rabies cases are due to dogs while two percent are due to cats and other domesticated animals such as carabao, cattle, pigs and goats. There are no rabies cases involving wild animals and bats in the country.

Dr. Atienza, appealed for support from the local government of the identified top provinces for rabies cases. "We cannot do it alone, but through collaboration and your support, rabies-free Philippines is possible in the near future." He also sought additional funding for animal vaccination. "At the moment, we are only distributing vaccines to the selected poor and deprived communities. If only the funding indicated in the Anti Rabies Act of 2007 will be followed, this would be a big support to fund IEC campaign for rabies awareness, dog vaccination and other activities as indicated in the law. By then, rabies cases will surely be reduced and eliminated and the Philippines could be declared Rabies free even before the target date of 2020."

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