DOST-PCHRD wraps up activities for first virtual NSTW  

The Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) successfully wrapped up its activities for the National Science and Technology Week 2020 celebration. With the theme “Agham at Teknolohiya: Sandigan ng Kalusugan, Kaayusan, Kabuhayan, at Kinabukasan,” this year’s NSTW, held from 23-29 November 2020,  aimed to  showcase initiatives of the scientific community to help Filipinos adapt to the new normal.

For the first time in NSTW history, the DOST held the celebration virtually through webinars and a virtual exhibit to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols. The virtual exhibit, divided into four clusters, namely Kalusugan, Kaayusan, Kabuhayan, and Kinabukasan focused on R&D results and outputs that impact various sectors in the society affected by COVID-19. 

As the country’s lead agency for health research initiatives, the DOST-PCHRD featured new normal necessities under the Kalusugan exhibit cluster. Some health technologies featured in the exhibit were locally-developed ventilators, the GENAMPLIFY™ COVID-19 test kit, studies on virgin coconut oil (VCO) as adjunctive treatment for COVID-19, and specimen collection booths, among others.

Through its NSTW flagship event held last 23 November 2020 entitled  “PagSIBOL sa Pandemya: Health R&D COVID-19 Initiatives,” the DOST-PCHRD presented its funded technologies in response to COVID-19 and their impacts to the country’s COVID-19 response efforts. These technologies are under the University of the Philippines Surgical Innovation and Biotechnology Laboratory (UP SIBOL) Program, particularly the development of the Sanipod, the UP SIBOL Personal Protective Equipment: Design and Development of Locally-Manufactured, Reusable, Powered, Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR), and the CleanIntubate.

The Sanipod, a self-containing cubicle similar to air showers, was developed to allow minimal contact sanitation of healthcare workers as they exit patient wards. Similarly, the CleanIntubate is a portable device that lessens frontliners’ handling of highly infectious equipment. It automatically cleanses, disinfects, washes and dries laryngoscopes which are used for intubationーa procedure done on patients with severe or critical pneumonia, resulting in respiratory compromise. The PAPR project, on the other hand, aims to develop additional personal protective equipment that meets the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health standards. The technology can be used for COVID-19 high-risk procedures such as intubation, endoscopies, sample collection and testing, among others. 

To close this year’s virtual NSTW celebration, the DOST-PCHRD held the second day of the “Writeshop: Capacity Building in Technical Writing for Mental Health Research Proposal Development” last 5 December 2020. Led by the Mental Health- Technical Working Group (MH-TWG), the Writeshop was a 2-day capacity building effort aimed to equip health researchers with skills in developing technically sound mental health research proposals. 

Five project teams participated in the writeshop facilitated by research methods experts and mental health experts from the MH-TWG. As the culminating activity for the writeshop, the project teams presented their outputs to the Department of Science and Technology represented by Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara, Department of Health represented by Ms. Frances Prescilla Cuevas, and the Philippine Council for Mental Health represented by Dr. Leonor Cabral-Lim.

From October to November, a total of 1,772 online attendees joined the DOST-PCHRD activities under the NSTW 2020 celebration. To watch replays of the webinars organized by the DOST-PCHRD, visit facebook.com/dostpchrd