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Collaboration, funding mechanisms, capacity building and publishing, next steps for Philippine health research

“We need to mobilize more resources, and resources is not just money you put into the system but finding people around us who can do the work and who can do it better than we can do it ourselves. So part of the task is coordinate with these people, work in parallel, work simultaneously so we can move faster,” says Dr. Cecilia S. Acuin in her synthesis of the proceedings of the 6th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Pasay City.

To improve research systems in the country in order to impact on the health of Filipinos, Dr. Acuin proposed that the PNHRS take the following steps: 1) harness technologies in building collaboration; 2) employ full-time, capacitated, and justly compensated research managers to produce desirable outcomes; 3) simplify the funding processes or grant mechanisms and; 4) publish researches to help policymakers define their research agenda.

Dr. Acuin explained that using technologies such as cell phones, computers and video conferencing is a much cheaper means to communicate when doing research and results can be acquired much faster. “Working with somebody in distant area doesn’t need to be expensive to harness technologies,” said Dr. Acuin.

In terms of research management, Dr. Acuin said coordination is becoming more crucial especially when working in a network. She emphasized, “We need full-time, capacitated, and justly compensated research managers, in that way we can work faster. We can produce better quality research.”

Dr. Acuin shared the difficulty of Filipino researchers in getting funding approval for their research. She urged the PNHRS core agencies to simplify funding processes and reduce bureaucracy.

Dr. Acuin also highlighted the importance of publishing research. “The reason to publish is to market your capacity and to be able to show the world that you are capable of doing these kinds of research. That way, you build a track record among people who are thinking of doing similar research in your area and there will be a way to contact you for further work,” stressed Dr. Acuin.

“I would be very glad to hear outcomes and success stories of our research systems and our consortia. I would also like to hear what happens to the systems that we are collaborating in PNHRS,” were Dr. Acuin’s parting words.