The theme “HR4D” or “Health Research for Development” was fittingly chosen as the rallying call of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) in its celebration of its 30th year of service as the lead national agency in coordinating and monitoring health research initiatives in the Philippines last March 16, 2012 at the Makati Shangri La Hotel, Makati City.
Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, Executive Director of PCHRD-DOST, proudly announced, “The theme HR4D or ‘Health Research for Development’ reflects our strong commitment and support to research and innovation for health, equity and development.”
With the vision to be the lead council that creates and sustains an enabling environment for health research in the Philippines, indeed, PCHRD has encouraged development of health research in the country ever since its establishment in 1982 through Executive Order No. 784.
The Council has made a huge impact in the Philippine health sector in the last 30 years - new drugs and medical devices were introduced, laws were created, projects in controlling diseases came to life and more. PCHRD has ceaselessly come up with new schemes to keep up with the changing times and make health research even more relevant.
During the anniversary celebration, the Council presented new policy initiatives and strategies for Health R&D. Dr. Bernadette L. Ramirez, Scientist of the Lead Discovery for Infectious Tropical Diseases - Research Training in Tropical Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO), discussed the Role of International Organizations in Policy Formation for Health R&D. Rep. Angelo B. Palmones, Vice Chair of the Congress Committee on Science and Technology, talked about the Policy Initiatives to Accelerate Innovation in Health. Dr. Emerlinda R. Roman, former President of the University of the Philippines (UP), represented Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), explained Research and Innovation for Health and Development.
The celebration also provided vehicle for the Council to launch some of its initiatives. Dr. Antonio D. Ligsay, Division Chief of Research and Development Management Division of PCHRD, introduced the DOST-PCHRD Natural Substance Research Program. Ms. Arlene Ruiz, Co-Chair of the Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Research Agenda Committee, presented the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) for 2011-2016. Dr. Leonardo D. De Castro, Chair of the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB), unveiled the 2011 National Ethical Guidelines for Health Research. Dr. Cecilia V. Tomas, Chair of the PHREB Sub-Committee on Standards and Accreditation, discussed PHREB and Ethics Review Committees (ERC) Accreditation Program, while Ms. Merlita M. Opeña, Division Chief of the Research Information, Communication and Utilization Division of PCHRD, launched the Philippine Health Research Registry (PHRR).
Although there are still many things left to be done, it cannot be denied that the Council’s 30 fruitful years of existence paved the way for expanding development in the Philippine health sector. Dr. Marita Reyes, co-Chair of PHREB and former UP-Manila Chancellor, said, “Today we have been happy participants and witnesses to PCHRD’s demonstration of how it has remained faithful to its mission of ensuring that health researches contributes to the improvement on the quality of life of the Filipino.”
Written by Richmond Q. Acosta