Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) Executive Director, Dr. Jaime C. Montoya will lead the presentation of the accomplishments in health research and development at the 3rd National Research and Development Conference (NRDC) on 20 April 2018 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

Scientists and researchers of the country come together at the annual conference to present projects on five sector components: (1) basic research, (2) agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources, (3) health, (4) industry, energy, and emerging technology, and (5) disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

Underlining the Council’s support in every stage in health research, Dr. Montoya will discuss the Council’s accomplishments of the previous year and the exciting developments to look forward to this 2018.

The health sector will have a notable lineup of four speakers starting with Dr. Mario V. Capanzana of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute who will talk about the Malnutrition Reduction Program.

Dr. Raul V. Destura of UP Manila and the Philippine Genome Center will be presenting “Lab-in-a-Mug Project: How Dengue brought us together,” highlighting the development and the process behind the affordable, accurate, and rapid test kit for accurate detection of dengue infection—Biotek-MTM Dengue aqua kit. Biotek-MTM recently received a gold medal at the Salon International des Inventions de Genève.

The “Axis Knee System: Confidence in Every Step” by Dr. Ilustre I. Guloy of the Orthopaedic International Inc. and Asian Hospital and Medical Center will discuss the cost-efficient, simple, and revolutionary knee replacement system that is now commercially available for individuals suffering from severe osteoarthritis.

Dr. Evangeline C. Amor will be discussing one of the projects under the Tuklas Lunas Program: Discovery and Development of Health Products: Terrestrial Herbals and Drug Candidates, a collaborative research program among institutions across the country. Supplements and medicine for disease such as diabetes, inflammation and pain, hypertension and high cholesterol, gout, and microbial infection could be made available through the discoveries of the projects.

The conference will showcase updates on the Harmonized National R&D Agenda (HRNDA 2017-2022). NRDC is an annual gathering to consult and gather inputs of government agencies, private R&D institutions, the academe, industry, and other concerned agencies for research and development plans and programs.

BIOTEK-MTM Dengue Aqua Kit , a Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) assisted technology, was one of the gold awardees during the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva held on 11-15 April 2018 at Palexpo, Geneva.

Engr. Edgar Garcia, Director of Technology Application and Promotion Institute (DOST-TAPI), and Ambassador Evan Garcia, Representative of the Philippines to UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva, accepted the award for the Filipino Inventions and DOST-assisted technologies - Smart Surface and BIOTEK-M during the event.

BIOTEK-M is an affordable and locally developed rapid test kit for accurate detection of dengue infection within an hour. It is part of the “Lab-in-a-Mug Project” where diagnostic kits are integrated in an isothermal unit as small as a “mug” which functions as a diagnostic device similar to a portable laboratory. The local innovation has high sensitivity, high specificity, robust, and is less expensive than current diagnostic tests in the market.

It was created by experts from the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila led by Dr. Raul Destura. BIOTEK-M was developed through funding from DOST, PCHRD, and its commercialization is supported by TAPI.

The development of the technology generated the first spin-off company from the University of the Philippines since 1908, the Manila Healthtek, Inc. The R&D company on health biotechnology focuses on developing and providing affordable diagnostic technologies for communicable and non-communicable diseases.

BIOTEK-M was one of the thousand inventions on display during the international exhibition. Inventions related to health, medicine, environment and safety had the strongest presence during the show. In fact, the Grand Prix is a medical invention from Hong Kong, a multi-segment lens for glasses designed to defocus short-sighted vision which enables myopia to be controlled.

The exhibition is regarded as the world's most important event exclusively dedicated to inventions and a unique marketplace for industry professionals. This year, the annual exhibition attracted 31,050 visitors, 822 exhibitors, and 1000 innovations from more than 40 countries.

WHO Scientist Dr. Bernadette Ramirez gave emphasis on the importance of participatory research in health during her keynote speech at the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development 36th Anniversary last March 16, 2018 at the Philippine International Convention Center, Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

According to Dr. Ramirez, one of the objectives of participatory research in health studies is capacity building. “We actually have one goal which is capacity building for research. Capacity building means strengthening our ties with individuals and communities through involvement when it comes to health research and innovation.”

Dr. Ramirez defined community involvement as a process of engaging with communities to form a dialogue and/or collaboration at the grass roots level. She explained that in health research, including people in the process means providing what the people actually needs instead of delivering research results and research products aimlessly.

Participatory research sees communities as co-producer of knowledge and action. She added that the benefits of including individuals and communities in the dialogue of health research and innovation does not only encourage them to take action and responsibility for their own health but also fosters change in people.

She stated that the problem in the current health research practices is the need of the communities, “Ang mentality kasi natin ay one-size fits all; we forget that in health research, we are actually dealing with people. We need transformative change. We don’t want to be stuck in one size fits all because people come in different shapes and sizes.”

Dr. Ramirez explained that we should move forward from this practice and start banking on personalized healthcare that is more understanding of what is important to the people and community. The on-going evolution and demand for quality healthcare necessitate a parallel need for professional development with guided principle that is rooted in the needs of the people.

She urges everyone to take part in creating and providing a better healthcare to millions of Filipinos. Dr. Ramirez said, “Health research is multi-trans disciplinary; we need to combine our expertise. We have to understand our problems together. Healthcare is a complex problem and a complex problem requires a complete set of system to address that problem.”

In the end, she reiterated and reminded everyone that research on social innovation in health accompanied by community involvement is key in developing better healthcare system and programs.

In Zumarraga town in Samar, an Inter-island Health Referral System - Strengthening through one facility, one health service boat project was adopted to address access barriers to women in need of facility-based deliveries. Dr. Katerina Nono-Abiertas, founder of the One Health Service boat, explains that the set-up enables patients to access health centers by having boats ferry them to maternity units.

Initially, they started with one boat that had to cater 25 barangays in Zumarraga. At present, four low-cost, fuel-efficient, and cost effective service boats were added to the fleet after donations came in from other doctors.  

According to the Asian Development Bank, there are 114 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the Philippines in 2017.  Through facility and service improvements and promotion of facility-based deliveries, an increase in facility-based births results in fewer women dying at home and better postpartum care. But for geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA), reaching the said facilities prove to be a significant hurdle.

Dr. Nono-Abiertas shared that by training health personnel, engaging the mayor and barangay health workers, developing an ordinance, and creating a hotline to contact the center, they were able to develop a system that not only provided access to GIDAs, but they also managed to change the delivery of health services and enhanced the health workers’ motivation.

The innovation is in the financial model which was developed to create sustainability by upgrading and expanding maternal health facilities to become accredited by PhilHealth, which in turn, will enable the facility to receive reimbursements to fund the operation and maintenance of the sea ambulances. Through this set-up, facility-based deliveries rose from 20% to 90%, created employment for men as boat operators, and improved the health workers’ morale and motivation.

Dr. Nono-Abiertas emphasized in her presentation the need to care for health workers, saying “If we really want people-centered health systems, people should not come first, health workers should come first,” and that by ensuring the people working on the ground are cared for, effective patient care will follow.

Lastly, she added the importance of first-hand field experience and empathizing with the community, inviting other researchers and stakeholders to visit the field and find time to work with the communities.

The One Health Boat project is one of the top five models of social innovations in the country recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI). Dr. Nono-Abiertas was invited to be part of the panel discussion on Research on Social Innovations in Health during PCHRD’s 36th anniversary celebration on March 16 at the Philippine International Convention Center.

 

JSPS International Fellowships for Research in Japan
Postdoctoral Fellowships for Research in Japan
Invitational Fellowships for Research in Japan
FY 2018 (2018-2019) Application Guideline

The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) carries out programs that provide overseas researchers who have an excellent record of research achievements with an opportunity to conduct collaborative research, discussions, and opinion exchanges with researchers in Japan. These programs are intended to help advance the overseas researchers' research activities while promoting science and internationalization in Japan.

FIELDS OF RESEARCH

All fields of the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences are included under this program.

NOTICE

(1) JSPS Electronic Application System
Host researchers are required to use the JSPS Electronic Application System when applying for fellowships.

Please refer to JSPS’s website for more details on JSPS Electronic Application System.
(http://www-shinsei.jsps.go.jp/topkokusai/top_kokusai.html)
If you have already obtained the applicant ID of international exchange projects, you do not need to ask your affiliated institution to issue the new ID and password.

(2) Application periods (for host institution)
Applications must be submitted to JSPS by a host researcher in Japan via the head of his/her university or institution. Overseas researchers wishing to participate in the program are advised to establish contact with a
Japanese or foreign-resident researcher in their field and to ask him/her to submit an application. They should make this contact well in advance of the host institution’s application deadline (depending on the institution, it may have its own deadline more than one month before the application deadline set by JSPS).

For more information, visit www.jsps.go.jp