Resource speakers during the Metro Manila Health Research Development Consortium (MMHRDC) Research Forum. (From Left): Engr. Jean Rosete of EMB-DENR, Dr. Josephine Tolentino of SLMC and Dr. Jubert Benedicto of PCCP.

In celebration of the National Lung Month, the Metro Manila Health Research and Development Consortium (MMHRDC) held a research forum with the theme “Healthy Lungs, Clean Air, Good Life” last August 26, 2011 at the Manila Doctors Hospital.




The forum gathered researchers and experts from the 23 member institutions of the consortium to provide a venue for research collaboration among stakeholders.




Engr. Jean Rosete, Chief of the Air Quality Management Section of the Environment Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) presented the “Status of Air Quality in Metro Manila.” Engr. Rosete reported that the sources of air pollution in Metro Manila are natural and man-made or anthropogenic. Man-made air pollutants are from mobile sources like motor vehicles, industries, and area sources like open burning, building constructions and paved roads. Based on the National Emission Inventory conducted by the DENR, most (86%) of the pollution load comes from motor vehicles.




“In response to the findings of the inventory, DENR intensified its anti-smoke belching campaign. We also implemented the garage testing of public utility vehicles, intensified industrial monitoring, and information and education campaign in coordination with Local Government Units (LGUs) to undertake those activities.” said Engr. Rosete.




Dr. Josephine Tolentino of St. Luke’s Medical Center tackled “Personalizing Treatment for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: IPASS Study.” Her study proved that the drug Gefitinib is superior to carboplatin-paclitaxel as an initial treatment for pulmonary adenocarcinoma among nonsmokers or former light smokers in East Asia. The presence in the tumor of a mutation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene is a strong predictor of a better outcome with gefitinib.




Dr. Jubert Benedicto, Chair of the Council on Tuberculosis of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP) discussed his research entitled, “The Incidence of Active Tuberculosis Among Health Workers with Latent Tuberculosis Infection in Tertiary Hospital Setting.” The study revealed that health care workers (HCWs) have a high prevalence of latent TB infection (LTBI) and low incidence of active TB.




According to Dr. Benedicto, “This was a cohort study done over two years involving HCWs assigned in the medical wards and medical intensive care units in ten tertiary hospitals. The findings of the study might have implications in screening and employment policies among HCWs and infection control strategies that should be employed in these tertiary settings.”




In her closing remarks, Dr. Lulu Bravo, Chair of the MMHRDC Steering Committee and the Executive Director of the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) expressed her appreciation for the efforts of the consortium in promoting research.



“We need more forums like this to motivate more people to do research. I encourage everyone to publish your researches for us to be more competitive with our ASEAN neighbors.” said Dr. Bravo.

2011 Winners of the PCHRD-Gruppo Medica for Undergraduate Thesis in Herbal Medicine.

Winners of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD)-Gruppo Medica Award were recognized during the Metro Manila Health Research and Development Consortium (MMHRDC) research forum last August 26, 2011 at the Manila Doctors Hospital.

Three undergraduate students were awarded for their studies on herbal medicine that have shown potential for commercial applications.

Third prize was given to Ms. Luisa Gillian Angeles of the University of the Philippines Diliman, Institute of Chemistry for her study entitled, “Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitory Activity of Mimosa pudica.” Mimosa pudica, more commonly known as “Makahiya,” was found to contain flavonoids which are essential in the treatment of gout. With this finding, Makahiya can be a possible alternative for allopurinol, a clinically approved drug used to treat gout.

Second prize went to Ms. Kristin Joyce Santos, Ms. Abegail Santillan, Ms. Chari Jane Rosales of the University of Santo Tomas for their research, “Fruit juice of unripe saba (Musa paradisiaca L.) inhibits free radicals, prevents lipid peroxidation and improves lipid profile.” The study showed that unripe saba can be used as a dietary supplement to reduce the risk of diseases associated with oxidative stress and hyperlipidemia.

First prize was awarded to Mr. Luis Tani, Mr. Leland Ustare, Mr. Von Luigi Valerio of the University of Santo Tomas for their project entitled, “A critical assessment of the cytotoxicity, hypoglycaemic and antioxidant potential of the ripe fruit of Musa sapientum var. saba on human fibroblasts in vitro.” Results of the study revealed that the crude aqueous extract of ripe Musa sapientum var. saba exhibits remarkable properties both as potentially effective antioxidant and as a probable nutraceutical agent for diabetics in the Philippines.

The PCHRD-Gruppo Medica Award provides motivation for students to view undergraduate thesis not merely as an academic exercise, but as an excellent opportunity to contribute to the national agenda.

PNHRS 2011


Health research stakeholders nationwide will meet anew on 10-12 August 2011 to celebrate the 5th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week at the L’Fisher Hoter in Bacolod City.

Bearing the theme, “Convergence in Divergence, Innovations for better health,” the three-day event is a venue for stakeholders to interact, to learn from each other, to share information and experiences, and contribute research-based solutions to health problems, among other things.

Another highlight of the event is the launching of Health Innovation Marketplace and awarding of winners for the Best Mentor Award and Poster Exhibit Contest.

For more information, please contact PNHRS secretariat at telephone numbers: (02) 8377534 or (02) 8377537 or visit PNHRS website at


Member of participating team meticulously adds flavor to their mouth watering dishes

As part of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) advocacy to promote brown rice, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) and the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) organized a Brown Rice Cooking Challenge at the FNRI Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City on 4-5 July 2011.

According to Dr. Mario Capanzana, FNRI Director, “Brown rice is gaining popularity today because of its nutritional benefits. With that, we want to introduce to the public the different ways of serving brown rice, as appetizer, soup, main dish and dessert through this Brown Rice Cooking Challenge.”

The competition is participated in by different universities and colleges in Metro Manila. Serving as judges of the competition were Nancy Lumen, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Culinary Lifestyle Magazine; Ms. Marieta Bumanglag, Senior Science Research Specialist of FNRI; Chef Antonio Gantioqui, expert cook from the Center for Advanced Training in Food and Beverages Services, Incorporated of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA); FNRI Director Mario Capanzana and DOST Secretary Mario Montejo.

Following are the winners of the Brown Rice Cooking Challenge:

First prize winner - Miriam College

  • Appetizer - Lettuce topped brown rice (also won as Best Appetizer during the semi finals)
  • Soup - Tomato and brown rice bisque with brown rice stuffed peppers (also won as Best Soup during the semi finals)
  • Main Dish - Lamb and brown rice meat balls
  • Dessert - Mango and brown rice mousse

Second prize winner - University of Sto Tomas Manila

  • Appetizer - Chicken and egg roll surprise
  • Soup - Rich dumpling rice soup delight
  • Main Dish - Rellenong bangus stuffed with seven treasures (also won as Best Main Dish during the semi finals)
  • Dessert - Choconut rice balls

Third prize winner - University of the East

  • Appetizer - Brown rice stuffed tofu pocket
  • Soup - Brown rice chowder
  • Main Dish - Prawn thermidore filled with brown rice
  • Dessert - Brown rice macaroons

Consolation prize winners

Emilio Aguinaldo College

  • Appetizer - Pocket of beef strips and salsa on brown rice soft
  • Soup – Picante (spicy) brown rice soup
  • Main Dish - Itik volumen (roll) with brown rice stuffing paired
  • Dessert - Duo of arroz (Trez leche champorado with lemony banana brown rice pudding with sugar spun

Centro Escolar University

  • Appetizer - Chile parilla con tuna Y arron marron
  • Soup - Sopa arroz marron con pechay
  • Main Dish - Arroz marron con pollo
  • Dessert - Arroz marron con mango (also won as Best Dessert during the semi finals)

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said that, “Brown rice is a healthier alternative that will, hopefully, reduce the demand for white rice, most of it are imported. By consuming brown rice, we are not only helping our own farmers. We are also increasing our intake of micronutrients needed by our body.”


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country Project for Children has reported that malnutrition is associated with more than half of all less than 5 years old children’s deaths worldwide. According to the report, undernourished children are more likely to die from common childhood ailments - some will survive but have recurring sicknesses and growth problems.

The Philippines is not spared in this global endemic nutrition problem. In fact, the 2008 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) revealed that among 0-5 year old children, three out of 10 are underweight and under-height.

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said that the increasing number of malnourished children in the Philippines is associated to poor feeding practices due to mother’s lack of knowledge or awareness on proper nutrition and sanitation, lack of access to potable water and severe poverty. “This served as basis for DOST to embark on a project entitled Science and Technology-based Interventions to Address Malnutrition dubbed as Sulong Pinoy Program - aimed to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition among children not only in the cities but most especially in the remote and far flung communities in the provinces,” added Secretary Montejo.

“The program has three project components: production and technology transfer of the FNRI complementary snack foods; development of nutrition intervention strategy (DOST PINOY Model); and technology generation for the production of multi-nutrient growth mix,” said FNRI Director Dr. Mario Capanzana.

For the first component, the protein-rich food technologies developed by FNRI such as the Rice-Mongo blend, Rice-Mongo-Sesame, and Rice-Mongo Curls will be produced for the complementary feeding to address the nutrient deficiency among malnourished children. These technologies are also ready for commercialization to interested private entrepreneurs. The FNRI-DOST will provide technical assistance to Local Government Units (LGUs), Non Government Organizations (NGOs) and private organizations who are interested to produce these food products for livelihood purposes.

The second component of the program is the DOST PINOY Model, where PINOY stands for Package for the Improvement of Nutrition for Young Children. This component is a customized package of nutrition modules to empower the Barangays Health Workers (BHWs) and Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs) in educating the mothers to practice breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding using the FNRI complementary food blends and snack foods.

“We feed the child simultaneously with their mother’s mind,” said Dr. Capanzana. “In this component, DOST will provide the supply of supplementary foods for 120-day feeding cycle to the initially identified 1000 (0-5) year old children from the nutritionally depressed communities of Iloilo, Leyte, Antique and Occidental Mindoro - the identified provinces with high prevalence of underweight children based on the 2008 National Nutrition Survey.”

The third component of the project is the undergoing R&D effort to fortify the food products (Rice-Mongo blend, Rice-Mongo-Sesame, and Rice-Mongo Curls) with Vitamin A, iron, iodine, zinc and folic acid. The project also aimed to produce a multi-nutrient growth mix using fruits and vegetables in a ready-to-use sachet that can be used to fortify the ordinary “lugaw” with vitamins and mineral and complement the protein and energy-dense blend formulation of the three introduced products as well.

“Along with the existing community-based nutrition education effort being implemented by various government agencies, non-government organizations and private organizations, malnutrition in the country would be lessened if not eliminated,” Dr. Capanzana added.

Sustainability of the Program

The program encourages strong participation of the community not only for beneficiaries but also the local chief executives, officials and nutrition committees through constant advocacy meeting. “With this, they will personally understand and become aware on the importance of the program, making them feel that this program is designed for them, for their community - for their own good,” said Dr. Capanzana.

On the other hand, aside from getting fresh and nutritious food alternatives in vegetable production or backyard gardening component of the project, it is also an opportunity for the community to earn money by selling their excess harvests. “With that, we can say that this program helps the community not only for what they need today but, most importantly, they will learn practical knowledge that will enable them to become productive and well-nourished citizens of the country,” concluded Dr. Capanzana.

The DOST Sulong PINOY Program is a monitored project of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).