Colorectal cancer is one form of cancer which develops slowly over a period of many years. It is a cancer from uncontrolled cell growth in the inner lining of the colon or rectum.  It commonly develops from a tumor, an abnormal tissue which can be benign or malignant or from a polyp, a non-cancerous tumor.

 
Professor Federico Macaranas of AIM facilitates the review of the Strategic Business Plan draft.

Task force members of the ASEAN Network for Drug, Diagnostics, and Vaccines Innovation (ASEAN-NDI) held a teleconference at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Makati City last February 28, 2012 to review its draft Strategic Business Plan (SBP).

"The meeting was called to provide the task force members information on the progress of the SBP project. It also aims to gather reactions and post clarifications on the questionnaire provided prior to the meeting to make sure 

Dr. Antonio B. Bautista, Deputy Program Manager of the Field Operations Consolidated Global Fund Malaria Project tackles the development of malaria control in the country

“Malaria is one of the most persistent mosquito-borne infection in the Philippines. Prevalent areas are usually rural, mountainous and hard to reach.”

Dr. Antonio B. Bautista, Deputy Program Manager of the Field Operations Consolidated Global Fund Malaria Project from the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc (PSFI), presented the status of malaria in the Philippines during the scientific conference of the 14th National Institutes of Health (NIH) anniversary last February.

The Philippines is one of the 20 countries in East Asia and the Pacific availing the Global Fund (GF) opportunity which is a unique global public/private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

In 2003, PSFI assisted in the formulation and development of the GF Round 2 project proposal for malaria. It was in 2005 when PSFI became the country’s principal recipient of the GF-Malaria grant covering the five most endemic provinces of the Philippines through the endorsement of the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM).

Dr. Bautista reported that before GF, 79 provinces were categorized endemic in the Philippines and only 13 were malaria-free provinces (1991-2002).

“Working with the GF, the project’s target was to cover 26 provinces by 2010. Strategies in reaching our target was through building local capacities, early diagnosis and prompt treatment, strengthening vector control, strengthening surveillance and epidemic management, ensuring quality of services, intensifying health promotion and establishing and expanding networks and collaborations,” said Dr. Bautista.

As early as 2008, the project reached the target of 76.8% reduction in morbidity rate of the 26 endemic provinces and a 90% reduction in mortality rate. The 13 Malaria-free provinces in 2002 became 23 Malaria-free provinces in 2008.

In 2009, the GF saw it fit to consolidate three projects on malaria: GF Round 2, Round 5 and Round 6. Their objectives were to ensure universal access to reliable diagnosis, highly effective and appropriate treatment and preventive measures, capacitate LGUs to own manage and sustain the Malaria Program in their respective localities, sustain financing of anti-malaria efforts at all levels of operations and ensure a functioning quality assurance system for Malaria operations.

From 2009-2010, the project have established 552 Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) sites and 987 Microscopy centers. In 2011, 95% of the diagnostic and treatment facilities were reported functional.

In strengthening and expanding vector control services in the country, the consolidated project have already distributed 2.7 million bed nets in a period of 2 years and 576,000 houses were sprayed with insecticides and 996,000 pregnancy packages were distributed among the 40 provinces in the Philippines (21 in Luzon and 19 in Mindanao).

Dr. Bautista reported that in 2011, the total LGU spending on Malaria amounted to 59 million and the DOH budget for Malaria was raised at 162 million.

“We are already doing everything. We just need to do it more correctly, regularly and in a timely manner,” concluded Dr. Bautista.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, one of the three sectoral councils of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) and lead national agency responsible for coordination and monitoring health research initiatives in the country will mark its 30th year in service on 16 March 2012.

National TB Program (NTP) Manager Dr. Rosalind G. Vianzon shows the country's TB program development using the DOTS strategy

“The increase in prevalence of tuberculosis has been due to the low priority accorded to anti-tuberculosis activities by many countries. The unavailability of anti-TB drugs, insufficient laboratory networking, poor health infrastructures, as well as a lack of trained health personnel, have also contributed to the rise in the incidence of the diseases,” according to Dr. Rosalind G. Vianzon, National TB Program (NTP) Manager from the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (NCDPC) of the Department of Health (DOH).

The NTP is the government’s commitment to address the TB problem in the country and its main strategy is to use the Directly-Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) to detect and cure TB patients.

Significant progress was recorded since the Philippines adopted the DOTS strategy in 1996. At the end of 2002-2003, all public health centers were able to deliver DOTS services.

In 2007, the treatment success of TB was able to reach above 85% and is expected to be sustained in the next years. The cure rate was posted at 82% in 2007 but it is likely to increase at 85% by 2015.

The case detection rate for new smear positives has reached the international target of 70% as early as 2004 and has been sustained up to the present.

Dr. Vianzon reported that the case detection rate of all forms of TB seemed to be weak and mostly reaching below 70%. That is why the call to increase case detection to 70% or at least 85% is deemed necessary.

“We are not just looking on all new forms of TB but merely considering all forms because epidemiologically, you cannot control a program if you will focus only on the highly infectious,” she said.

Dr. Vianzon mentioned that there are two key documents on TB research. One is the Philippine Plan of Action to Control TB (PhilPACT) 2012-2016 and the other is 2010 Tuberculosis Research Priority Agenda Setting.

The PhilPACT is the roadmap of the NTP and attuned with the health sector reform “Kalusugan Pangkalahatan” or KP. It is in line with TB global plans such as The Global Plan to Stop TB 2011-2015, Stop TB Partnership (technical arm of the international communities on TB control) and Regional Strategic Plan of Western Pacific.

The 2010 Tuberculosis Research Priority Agenda Setting meanwhile, is the research monograph of the NTP and was developed to support the R&D of NTP. This monograph was based on the 8-point strategy of NTP plan, with perspectives coming from both public and private sectors. The document was intended for doers, funders and implementers of research.

The 2010 Tuberculosis Research Priority Agenda Setting is published through a funding from the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST).