Rabies remains to be a public health problem in the country, accounting for 200 to 300 deaths each year. With the declaration of March as Rabies Awareness Month (Republic Act 1948), the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and various health institutions take part in raising people’s consciousness to the dangers of infectious viral diseases like rabies.

The Council is one of the many institutions promoting innovative ideas and research-based solutions to combat public health problems. PCHRD extends funding for researches on public health which are aligned with National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) and National Harmonized Research and Development Agenda (NHRDA)

NUHRA summarizes the health research and development directions and priorities of the country for a six-year period. These research priority areas are the following: Diagnostics, Tuklas lunas (Drug discovery and development), Functional foods, Hospital equipment and biomedical devices, Information and communication technology for health, Dengue and other arboviruses, Disaster risk reduction, Climate change adaptation, and Omic technologies for health.

Some of the rabies related projects and researches that were supported by the Council are “Canine Rabies Vaccination Outcome Monitoring and its Implication to Rabies Control and Prevention Program in Pampanga,” “Comparison of the Different Brain Collection Techniques and Evaluation of the Spinal Cord and Brain Tissues as Specimen for Rabies Diagnosis,” and “Bioluminescent Enzyme Immunoassay for the Rapid and Specific Detection of Rabies Virus.”

Most reported cases of rabies are caused by domestic pets such as cats, dogs, and rabbits. The virus usually comes from their saliva but can also be transmitted into humans through biting and scratching. While there is a small amount of people who have survived rabies, it remains as a fatal disease.

As a reminder, PCHRD encourages individuals to practice responsible pet ownership by having your pets vaccinated by your veterinarian, keeping them safe whether inside or outside the house and reporting stray animals to local government authorities.

To promote health research dissemination in the country, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) showcased the features of HERDIN and explained to more 250 pharmacy students its use during Adamson University’s 6th Pharmacy Research Forum.

Representing the council was Ms. Judy Ann Bacud who explained how the Health Research and Development Information Network (HERDIN) database, the country’s national health research repository, gives its users free access more than 4,000 full-text articles on health research and 50,000 citations and bibliographic health research information.

Two other speakers graced the yearly forum attended by students of Manila universities, Dr. Alberto Amorsolo who discussed the journal peer-review process and the threats of predatory journals, and Mr. Julius Velasquez who gave a presentation on event-based surveillance and response.

To invite HERDIN to visit your university, please send a letter addressed to PCHRD Executive Director, Dr. Jaime C. Montoya about your invitation, and for more information about HERDIN, please visit http://www.herdin.ph/

PROGRAM UPDATE- Dr. Bernadette Ramirez, World Health Organization’s (WHO) Scientist, will deliver the keynote address for the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development’s (PCHRD) 36th anniversary celebration on 16 March 2018 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

Dr. Bernadette Ramirez joined the WHO-Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) in June 2007 with over 20 years academic and research experience in health product innovation, drug discovery, vaccines, and the development of diagnostics for infectious tropical diseases.

She provides support and coordinates projects that studies population health vulnerabilities, vector-borne diseases, and ways to increase population resilience against the climate change impact in Africa.

Joining Dr. Ramirez as guest speakers are Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque, and UP Manila Professor Mary Ann Lansang.

The 36th anniversary celebration will highlight social innovations in health. Part of the program is the recognition of good practices in social innovation in health including the winners of the 2017 Search for PHL Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI) Solutions.

A panel discussion follows which will discuss opportunities and appropriate frameworks on social innovation in health research.  Panelists include University of the Philippines (UP) Manila Professor Noel Juban, UP School of Economics Professor Aleli Kraft, Ateneo De Manila University Institute of Philippine Culture Research Associate Dennis Batangan, and One Health Boat Project Founder Katerina Nono-Abiertas.

Awarding of newly accredited Research Ethics Committees (RECs) and winners of the “Visualize Health Research: Visual Abstract Contest” will also be conducted.

PCHRD is the national coordinating and monitoring body for health research. For more details, visit www.pchrd.dost.gov.ph. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook (/dostpchrd) and follow us on Twitter (@DOST_PCHRD)!

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and Tohoku University Collaborating Research Center for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases celebrated 10 years of partnership through a conference on 20 February 2018 at the RITM Training Center.

The anniversary conference is the culmination of a decade of research partnership led by research group head, Dr. Hitoshi Oshitani and RITM Director, Dr. Socorro Lupisan. The event featured the collaborating center’s achievements through the decade and presented discussions about the future direction of collaborative research.

Dr. Lupisan gave the keynote lecture on childhood pneumonia in the Philippines, citing the improvement in the treatment, control, and decrease in mortality of pneumonia cases over the years. She said that this improvement is the result of the development of better strategies in addressing pneumonia through improved investigations of the cause for the disease.  

Sixteen (16) researchers from RITM and Tohoku University presented their studies during the sessions of the event. The sessions featured discussions on respiratory infections, bacterial infections, acute gastroenteritis, other infections such as rabies, dengue, and chikungunya, and a session on ongoing research projects under the collaboration program.

A poster exhibit was also held to showcase abstracts of RITM-Tohoku researchers over the years.

The RITM-Tohoku Collaborating Research Center for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases was launched in 2008 to establish sustainable infectious disease control programs in the country through research with local hospitals and institutions.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine is a distinguished partner institution of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development in infectious diseases research.  The Council has supported RITM projects on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and infectious disease, among others, throughout the years.

Researches support and confirm that certain diets could offer genuine health benefits. As we celebrate the start of Lent, let us look at the health benefits that comes with the different practices we have in observing Lenten traditions.

Fasting

The practice of refraining or limiting the consumption of food or drink for a period of time is observed during Lenten season. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting, but unknown to many, the digestion process has its disadvantages for the human health. According to the Harvard Medical School, the practice of fasting provides our body a rest from taking in toxins found in food and helps in significant weight loss if practiced properly.

Fasting has two common types. Regular, also called full fast, wherein only liquids are consumed, and partial fast, wherein consumption of solids is limited. The norm during this season is the partial fasting wherein an individual decreases food intake by eating one full meal or two smaller meals that are not equal to a full meal in a day.

A word of caution from doctors, if you consider fasting this Lent, make sure that you have no preexisting conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure, as fasting causes electrolyte abnormalities.

 

Abstinence from meat

Abstinence from eating meat such as beef, pork, and chicken is observed during Fridays and Saturdays of Lent. Instead, fish and vegetables are chosen as substitutes. Fish such as salmon and tuna, is a good source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health.

Research proves that eating 1-2 servings of fish per week could help cut the risk of dying from heart diseases by 36%. By cutting down the consumption of red meat and processed meat, the risk of taking in less-beneficial fats and high sodium meat is also lessened.

Another popular substitute for meat is egg. An egg contains vitamins A, B, and D and a little saturated fat, which is about 1.5 grams . Nutrients found in the egg such as lutein is good for the eyes and choline good for the brain and nerve health.

According to Harvard Medical school, consuming an egg a day is safe for people without preexisting conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. When eating scrambled eggs or omelets,  opt for healthier choices to add to your eggs such as spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Always remember that the saturated fat in butter, cheese, bacon, sausage, and bread could raise your blood cholesterol much more than the cholesterol present in your eggs.

Other protein sources, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds could lack one or more fatty acids, so maintaining a proper balance and variety of alternative sources of protein is recommended.

Lenten season is not only a perfect time to take care of our spiritual health, this is also a perfect opportunity to focus on our physical health. With a positive attitude towards sacrifice and devotion, a healthier body and healthier relationship with the Almighty is within reach.

 

source: https://www.health.harvard.edu