In order to win this battle against COVID-19, we have to know our enemy,” Dr. Josefina Isidro-Lapeña of the UP-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) says in the first installment of the webinar “WE Can!! Kuwentong Komunidad sa Kalusugan ukol sa COVID-19” last 17 April 2020. 


With the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, Dr. Lapeña shared the best practices that will help prevent the spread of the virus and minimize its risk. She discussed a two-pronged approach in fighting COVID-19: 1) practicing proper hygiene to prevent the virus from coming in, and 2) boosting the immune system to build the body’s capacity to defeat the virus. 

As a highly communicable disease, Dr. Lapeña described the immune system as our own soldier against COVID-19. To strengthen our capacity to fight the infection, she reiterated the importance of the following:

  • Balanced Diet. Following the “Pinggang Pinoy” guideline for each meal, as recommended by the DOST - Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), half of each plate should consist of glow foods (fruits, vegetables), 1/6 for grow foods while the remainder of the plate should be allocated for go foods.
  • Adequate Rest and Exercise. As recommended by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), an individual aged 18 to 60 years old should at least have 7 hours of sleep a day and 150 minutes of exercise a week. 
  • Love, Care and Support. Despite the limited means of communication with loved ones, especially in times of quarantine, Dr. Lapeña highlighted that the feeling of constant support and care from loved ones can help boost an individual’s immune system. In the same way, she underscored that feelings of discrimination or isolation can also weaken the immune system.

Dr. Lapeña also reiterated the importance of regular and proper handwashing, disinfection of materials or clothes, and wearing face masks or face shields, among others. 


By following Dr. Lapeña’s reminders, even our simple actions can contribute to defeating COVID-19. Her full presentation may be accessed here: bit.ly/kkkcovidpart1presentation


Replays of the webinar may be accessed through this link: http://bit.ly/kkkcovidpart1replay, and are scheduled as follows:

  • April 20, 2020 (Monday) - 9:00 AM, 12:00 NN, 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM, 9:00 PM
  • April 21, 2020 (Tuesday) - 9:00 AM, 12:00 NN, 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM, 9:00 PM
  • April 22, 2020 (Wednesday) - 9:00 AM, 12:00 NN, 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM, 9:00 PM

This webinar series is hosted by the Ateneo de Manila University - Institute of Philippine Culture (ADMU-IPC) in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).




More than preparing emergency relief for their constituents, the Local Government Units (LGUs) play a crucial role in monitoring and disease surveillance of COVID-19 possible patients in their respective communities. LGUs can put in place contact tracing systems such as the TanodCOVID.

PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya emphasized the important role of LGUs in early detection and tracing of the disease. He stressed, “LGUs can help even more through the use of TanodCOVID.  This can build a knowledge base about your locality so that prevention, management and treatment on COVID19 can be improved.”

By using TanodCOVID, people in the community will have means of reporting their symptoms to their local officials without the fear of discrimination. When used by an LGU, TanodCOVID will help the local officials and the Department of Health (DoH) in contact tracing of possible and suspected COVID-19 cases and decide on areas where mass testing must be administered. Interested LGUs should send a letter of intent to the project team to avail this service.

To use TanodCOVID, locals can send text messages to their LGU’s verified mobile number. Officials will then call concerned locals to verify the reports and ask for additional information which might help the DoH. Specifically, the TanodCOVID will enable LGUs to access report summaries, visualization, mobile numbers and addresses of those who reported symptoms. (Specific steps of reporting are discussed below).


Once TanodCOVID is adopted, Dr. Regina Estuar, Project Leader of TanodCOVID, ensures interested LGUs of their continuous technical support. She said, “We designed the system to empower locals in our strategies to prevent the spread of the infection. In turn, this will help our national agencies reduce the risk of virus transmission through strengthened contact tracing processes. Our team will help you in using TanodCOVID. Ito ang tugon ng LGU laban sa COVID19.”

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina Guevara said, “The rapid development of research and technologies has been at the top of DOST’s priorities to fight this pandemic. With FASSSTER in place to assist our policymakers create evidence-based strategies, and TanodCOVID to engage our locals in self-reporting of symptoms for contact tracing, we are increasing our chances of saving more lives.”

Developed by Ateneo Center for Computing Competency and Research (ACCCRe) of Ateneo de Manila University in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Manila - National Telehealth Center (UP-NTHC) and the Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau  and funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), TanodCOVID is a self-reporting application included in the FASSSTER (Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler) a web-based disease surveillance platform that uses deterministic compartmental modeling.


 
Paano magreport ng sintomas sa TanodCOVID SMS Symptom Reporting System?


  1. Mag-register sa serbisyo ng makapagreport ng nararamdamang sintomas at mabigyang atensyon ng inyong LGU.
  2. I-report kung alin man sa mga sintomas na ito kasama ng tirahan:

                         a. Ubo
                     b. Lagnat
                     c. Hirap sa paghinga
                     d. Nagtatae

                        Halimbawa ng text: REP J.P. Rizal, Nangka, Marikina, A, B, C, D

  3. Free of charge ang mga mensahe at ang reply sa serbisyo. Kung mag-iba ang sintomas, o kung makatanggap ng reply,    mag-text lamang muli.

 




Para magamit ang serbisyong ito, ang LGUs ay kinakailangang mag-email ng Letter of Intent sa This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Written by Christine Jane Gonzalez & Ana Ciaren Itulid


Evidence-based forecasts of possible cases and scenarios on the spread of COVID-19 in the country can now be accessed thanks to the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler or FASSSTER.

Developed by Ateneo Center for Computing Competency and Research (ACCCRe) of Ateneo de Manila University in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Manila - National Telehealth Center (UP-NTHC) and the Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau  and funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), FASSSTER is a web-based disease surveillance platform that uses deterministic compartmental modeling.

Data generated from this technology allows policymakers to understand the pandemic at the national, regional, and local levels; assess the effects of the preventive measures in place; and use best practices in specific communities.



When the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 ravaged the country, FASSSTER determined appropriate model parameters that can be used to forecast future numbers of infections, confirmed positive cases, deaths, and recoveries.

FASSSTER dashboard generates disease models that enable users to project the effect of interventions such as community quarantine, social distancing, and optimal testing on the total number of confirmed cases, deaths, and recoveries over time. Data generated from FASSSTER, alongside health capacity and economic models developed by volunteers from Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS), was used by the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) in their recommendations and the government’s decision to extend the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until April 30.

Another feature of FASSSTER to address COVID-19 is the TanodCOVID, a self-reporting application which enables constituents to report COVID-19 related symptoms to their local health authorities. The data will then feed into the FASSSTER LGU dashboard which serves as a tracker for confirmed cases upon validation of Provincial/City/Municipality Epidemiology Surveillance Units. This will be useful in contact tracing and monitoring identified contacts to ensure that they are appropriately quarantined and managed.

 

COVID-19 Scenarios

Considering the initial interventions and precautionary measures implemented against COVID-19, FASSSTER estimates the number of confirmed positive cases in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Data gathered enabled the FASSSTER team to generate models to predict the peak number of cases and peak dates in four scenarios. The tool showed that the peak will reach around 2 million confirmed cases on May 30 if no ECQ was implemented. If, however, ECQ is lifted on April 14, with health capacity at 25%, cases will be slightly reduced to 1.5 million on July 31. If the health capacity is increased to 50%, at the same lift date, a huge decline in confirmed cases is predicted, which is now projected to reach 15,000 on May 4. The last scenario showed that cases will drop to 6,800 on May 21 if the ECQ is lifted on April 30, provided that the health system capacity reaches 75%.


The graph shows another scenario which reveals the condition of NCR. If ECQ is lifted on April 30 and health capacity is increased to 50% starting April 30, we expect a peak of confirmed positive cases of 20.9K on May 20. This information can be used by NCR to ensure that our health capacity can accommodate the management of 20.9k confirmed positive cases. Note that confirmed positive cases can further be distributed to critical, severe, and moderate/mild.
The graph shows another scenario which reveals the condition of NCR. If ECQ is lifted on April 30 and health capacity is increased to 50% starting April 30, we expect a peak of confirmed positive cases of 20.9K on May 20. This information can be used by NCR to ensure that our health capacity can accommodate the management of 20.9k confirmed positive cases. Note that confirmed positive cases can further be distributed to critical, severe, and moderate/mild.

Health system capacity can be further explained by two factors: a) testing capacity, or the availability of test kits, testing centers with quantitative polymerase chain reaction (QPCR) machines, trained health workers to perform testing, and turnaround time of test results; and b) health management capacity, or the availability of health facilities, medical devices and health workers to manage the confirmed positive cases so that they are isolated and given proper medical care.

Peak date is the day with the highest number of cases. The projected maximum number of active confirmed positive cases for the duration of the outbreak is referred to as the “Peak of active confirmed cases”.

Peak date is an important factor for epidemiologists in assessing the spread of the virus, an epidemic starts to decline after the peak date. The goal of the government is to “flatten the curve” or to take the necessary preventive measures before hospitals and other healthcare facilities are overburdened with positive cases.

Aside from these data, FASSSTER is also able to project the number of people who will be: exposed, symptomatic and asymptomatic infectious, confirmed positive cases, recovered, deaths, and projected mild, severe and critical cases.

With these projections, the extension of the enhanced community quarantine was approved by the President to provide ample time for the different agencies to strengthen the capacity of the health system against the pandemic.

The initial forecast shows the level of the country's health systems capacity in containing and managing the infection. It also highlighted the need to increase the number of quarantine facilities, implement stronger healthcare programs and regular assessment of health capacities.

Disease modeling is an iterative process. As data comes in, the model will be updated to reflect the latest projections, where performance can be measured and decisions on planned interventions is driven by science.

FASSSTER may be viewed at https://fassster.ehealth.ph/covid19/.


FAQs:

 

  1. Ano ang ginagawa ng FASSSTER at anong mga datos ang pwedeng makuha rito?

Ang FASSSTER ay isang instrumentong maaaring gamitin sa pagtataya, pagbabantay, at pagtatala ng paglaganap ng COVID-19 sa Pilipinas. Gamit ang FASSSTER maaaring malaman kung gaano karami ang maaaring magkaroon ng COVID-19 sa isang lugar at ano ang epekto at bisa ng mga isinasagawang preventive measures (hal. ECQ, social distancing, testing) sa pagkalat ng sakit.

Sa pamamagitan ng FASSSTER, maaari nating mahulaan at masabi kung gaanong karaming kaso ng COVID19 ang makikita  natin sa pilipinas at sa ano mang lugar sa Pilipinas sa ano mang takdang panahon. Maari rin nating Makita ang epekto ng ibat ibang solusyon at intervention sa dami ng kaso ng covid19 sa ating bansa.

  1. Saan pwedeng i-access ang FASSSTER?

Ang FASSSTER ay maaaring ma-access sa pagbisita sa: https://fassster.ehealth.ph/covid19/. Maaaring pindutin ang “Register” button at hintayin lamang ma-activate ang iyong account.

  1. Sino ang pwedeng gumamit ng FASSSTER?

Ang FASSSTER ay maaaring gamitin ng ating mga health planners at officials at mga LGUs at ng mga tagapamuno nito upang malaman ang kalagayan ng COVID-19 sa kani-kanilang nasasakupan. Maaari itong makatulong sa “contact tracing” ng mga posibleng apektado ng COVID-19.

  1. Paano makakatulong ang FASSSTER laban sa COVID-19?

Gamit ang FASSSTER, makikita ng ating mga health planners and officials at mga tagapamuno ng mga LGU ang mga projections ng COVID-19 na ipinapakita sa website. Ang impormasyong ito ay maaaring gamitin upang mas maging handa ang mga pasilidad at kagamitan kung sakaling makita ang pagtaas ng mga kaso sa nasasakupang munisipalidad o siyudad.

  1. Saan kinuha ang mga datos na ginagamit ng FASSSTER?

Ginagamit ng FASSSTER ang mga datos na ibinibigay ng Department of Health - Epidemiology Bureau upang makuha ang mga model parameters na kailangan at upang maberipika ang mga projections nito. Araw-araw ay ipinapasok at ginagamit ng FASSSTER ang mga bagong datos tungkol sa mga bagong kaso, mga namatay at mga
gumaling galling sa DOH.

  1. Ano ang TanodCOVID application na kasama sa FASSSTER?

Ang TanodCOVID ay isang SMS-based symptom reporting service. Sa pamamagitan ng TanodCOVID, maaari ng i-report ng isang indibidwal ang mga sintomas na kanyang nararamdaman sa kanyang LGU pamamagitan ng isang text lamang.


CONTACT DETAILS:

FASSSTER
Rm 313, PLDT Convergent Technologies Center
Ateneo Center for Computing Competency and Research
Department of Information Systems and Computer Science, School of Science and Engineering
Ateneo de Manila University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





Written by: Ana Ciaren Itulid & Christine Jane Gonzales


In the second installment of “Sustaining the Conversation on COVID-19: How Do We Cope? The eTURO Webinar Series on Engaging Communities and Networks (WE CaN!!)” webinar last 03 April organized by the Ateneo de Manila University - Institute of Philippine Culture (ADMU - IPC) in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan explained how the COVID-19 pandemic demands a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach.

He discussed how the involvement of every sector and individual is vital in defeating the pandemic through the implementation of cross-cutting strategies such as:

  1. Implementing a national unified communication plan by targeting a change in behavior
  2. Putting in place a nationwide monitoring and evaluation system for evidence-based policy making
  3. Protecting health workers from being COVID-19 patients by providing enough supply of personal protective equipment (PPEs)
  4. Increasing COVID-19 testing centers giving priority to epicenters of COVID-19
  5. Increasing number of dedicated COVID-19 Hospitals - with designated ICU beds for COVID-19 patients who are senior citizens, those with comorbidities, severely ill and pregnant women
  6. Shifting from a hospital centric response to an LGU-led or business sector-assisted community based systems:
    • Classification of each home according to capacity for quarantine (i.e. number of rooms). Every barangay should have a COVID-19 map located in the barangay hall.
    • Classification of provinces, cities or municipalities into those: at the epicenters, with less than 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 or those with no confirmed cases at all at present
    • Classification of citizens according to risks: comorbidities, age-bracket, socio-economic class

Covering communication strategies, local government initiatives, monitoring and evaluation systems, Dr. Galvez Tan reiterates that the current situation demands proactive and creative initiatives. “We are in extraordinary times demanding extraordinary thinking and extraordinary action,” he says.

To download Dr. Galvez Tan’s full presentation, go to this link: bit.ly/COVID19andme.

The webinar series is hosted by the IPC as part of the eTuro project which aims to create an online catalog of eHealth and other health-related short courses, training opportunities, and graduate programs for healthcare professionals and health workers in the Philippines.

Replays and subsequent webinars are scheduled as follows:

1. Why should I submit a research proposal?

Health research contributes to the achievement of our national health goals by providing sustainable health solutions that are world-class, affordable, and accessible for all. 

Your research proposal can make change happen.

2. Who can submit a research proposal to PCHRD?
  1. Filipinos with at least a Master’s Degree in relevant field
  2. Has proven research competence/track record
  3. Is employed/affiliated in universities/colleges, research agencies/institutes, hospitals, and other health-related agencies

3. How do I submit a research proposal?

For the Call for Proposals 2021-2022 –

  1. Register as Researcher at the DOST Project Information Management System: dpmis.dost.gov.ph 
  2. Click submit a new proposal on the proponent dashboard and fill-in the required fields

For more information, watch the tutorial here: https://bit.ly/PCHRDCallforProposals21-22

4. Aside from a research proposal, what are other documents required when applying for a research grant to PCHRD?
  1. Workplan Schedule (Gantt chart of activities)
  2. Appropriate clearance needed (Ethics clearance; Biosafety clearance; Animal care and use clearance)
  3. Informed consent form (for research involving human participants)
  4. Case report form, if applicable
  5. Endorsement of agency head
  6. Duties and responsibilities of each project personnel
  7. Letter of request addressed to PCHRD Executive Director

5. What is the evaluation process for research proposals?
  1. In-house screening in terms of alignment to the research priorities, duplication, and completeness of requirements
  2. Technical review by external consultants
  3. Approval by the PCHRD Governing Council or the PCHRD Executive Director depending on the recommended total budgetary requirement of the proposal. If funding will be sourced from the DOST-Grants in Aid, the DOST Executive Committee will be the final approving body.

6. What are the PCHRD research priority areas? 

For this year’s call for proposals, the DOST-PCHRD accepts proposals on the following program areas:

  1. Diagnostics
  2. Functional foods, Nutrition, Food Safety
  3. Biomedical Engineering & Health Technologies
  4. Information and Communication Technology for health
  5. Dengue and Other Arboviruses
  6. Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation
  7. Mental Health
  8. OMIC technologies for health (Platform technology across research priorities)

For more information on the specific priority research topics, please download the handout of the Call for proposals 2021-2022 here: https://bit.ly/PCHRDPriorities21-22


7. Who should I contact for concerns regarding research grants? (Sino ang pwedeng kontakin para sa mga katanungan patungkol sa research grants?)

Following are the contact persons for each of the program area:

  1. OMIC Technologies for Health: Mr. Jose Joy Gepanaga - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  2. Information & Communication Technology for Health: Ms. Pearl Kathleen Tumlos - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  3. Biomedical Engineering and Technologies for Health: Mr. Jose Joy Gepanaga - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  4. Disaster Risk Reduction & Climate Change Adaptation: Mr. Rogelio Guaring - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  5. Dengue and Other Arboviruses: Ms. Guiddita Gelera - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  6. Functional Foods: Ms. Marianne Joy Gochangco-Laya - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  7. Diagnostics: Ms. Mary Ann Pacho - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  8. Mental Health:  Ms. Marianne Joy Gochangco-Laya - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

8. Is there a deadline for this year’s submission of proposals?

You may submit your research proposals from April 1 to April 30, 2020.

9. How long will the review process take?

The review process will take 40 working days provided that all the requirements were submitted


For more information, go to: https://bit.ly/CallConferenceMaterials