The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will showcase its biotechnology research and development efforts in the upcoming National Biotechnology Week (NBW) on 23-28 November 2015 at SM City Dasmariñas, Cavite.

This year’s theme “Bioteknolohiya: Kaagapay ng Mamamayan para sa Pambansang Kaunlaran, Angat tayo sa Bioteknolohiya, underscores the benefits and contributions of biotechnology to agriculture and food security, delivery of equitable health care service, sustainable environment, and development of industries and the economy. The event will provide platform for scientists, policymakers, private sectors, and students to come together and share stories on how innovations on biotechnology has benefited their lives.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) and Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), both attached agencies of DOST, have lined up series of activities, highlight of which is the forum on newborn screening. Keynote speaker is Dr. Maria Melanie Liberty B. Alcausin, Director of New Born Screening Reference Center, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila.

Aside from newborn screening forum, the week long celebration features exhibits, presentations, writeshops and poster contest.

By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1414, NBW is annually celebrated every last week of November. The event is co-organized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippine, Departments of Agriculture, Environment, Interior and Local Government, and Trade and Industry.

Other partners include the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture-BiotechnologyInformationCenter, Asian Farmer's Regional Network, University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Agricultural (UPLBCA) Animal and Dairy Sciences Cluster.

Registration to the event is free. For more details about the activities related to health, please contact Ms. Magdalena Manaig at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Ms. Arnie Luna at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +63 837 75 34.


DOST and DOH await proposals for 30 researches on improving the country’s health services


The Philippine government opens application for research grants for 30 research topics on developing health policy for universal health care.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), and the Department of Health (DOH) convened scientists from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao; to encourage submmission of research proposals for the DOH Health Systems Research Management (HSRM) during the launch of 2015 DOH HSRM Agenda on 20 October 2015.

The DOH HSRM is a program initiated under the collaboration of PCHRD-DOST and DOH to provide research-based information that can be utilized for policymaking towards the attainment of universal health care.

The research topics were formulated under a series of consultation between the national government and private sector in line with the identified 2015 HSRM Research Agenda. The agenda take into consideration the gaps in knowledge on ensuring financial protection, improving access to health facilities, evaluation of attainments in the Millennium Development Goals, and strengthening governance.

The research topics are expected to produce evidenced-based information that will support formulation of crucial government programs and policies for improved and more equitable access to health services in the country. Through these researches, policymakers can create programs and policies that are timely and responsive to the health needs of Filipinos.

Interested scientists may contact Mr. Alain Jayson Generale at (02)837-7535 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The list of research topics is available at the

During the rainy season when floods are very common, one should be extra cautious of the health risks brought by flooding.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), flooding or “baha” can increase the prevalence of communicable diseases which can be water or vector-borne.

WHO explains that water-borne diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, and leptospirosis are brought by water contamination, the major risk factor associated with flooding. The incidents of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, and yellow fever, on the other hand, increases due to standing water that serves as breeding sites for mosquitoes.


Other health risks especially among workers who handle corpses during flood include tuberculosis, blood-borne viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and gastrointestinal infections such as diarrhea, WHO explained. People with wound exposed to bacteria in soil or feces have also higher chances of getting tetanus, an infection characterized by muscle stiffness, while children who immerse in floodwaters may suffer from hypothermia, a condition of having low body temperature.

Ensuring uninterrupted provision of safe drinking water is the most important preventive measure to be implemented following flooding,” WHO states. Other preventive measures include vaccination of high-risk groups, and disease surveillance.

Workers who routinely handle corpses, on the other hand, are advised to wear gloves, wash both hands carefully after handling corpses, and disinfect vehicles and equipment used in operation.

WHO also encourages governments to create disaster-preparedness programs and early warning systems, improve water treatment and sanitation, and enforce high standards of hygiene. Moreover, Malacañang advised citizens to consult doctors if needed.

For more information, read WHO’s fact sheet at and view Malacañang’s infographic at For details about future typhoons, access PAG-ASA’s website at ■



The Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the commitment entered into by UN member states in 2000, is coming to an end this year. Now, the world is aspiring to achieve a new set of global goals by 2030 where ‘no one is left behind’.


Building on MDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) also known as Global Goals, was launched on September 25, 2015 at the Sustainable Development Summit. These new goals promise to finish the job of MDGs.


While the MDGs achieved significant developments over the past 15 years, persistent gaps have been evident and progress has been uneven across regions and UN member states . The MDG Report 2015 concludes that targeted efforts are needed to fill in the gaps and reach the most vulnerable people.



SDG on health


UN member states are set to adopt 17 SDGS by 2030. SDG 3 entitled Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages, embodies the global health goal.


1The global health community expresses their disappointment as health component in the framework of SDG has been reduced. Global health will now play a less prominent role as one of the 17 SDGs from 3 of the eight MDGs. The good news is reducing child and maternal mortality, and reversing HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria are still integrated in SDG 3.


SDG 3 also includes targets on health security; reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health; infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, and universal health coverage.


In light of the SDG on health, a new report calls for inclusion of global health research and development (R&D) indicators in SDG framework. The report— Measuring global health R&D for the post-2015 development agenda—was prepared by the think tank Policy Cures and commissioned by a group of leading global health nonprofits.


The report proposes three indicators to measure global health R&D and five additional indicators for countries to include in their national monitoring frameworks if appropriate for their circumstances.


“The transition from the MDGs to the new set of SDGs presents an opportunity to unlock resources for investments in education, health, equitable growth and sustainable production and consumption,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He encouraged countries to embrace the ambition embodied in the new set of goals.


The new global health goal presents more challenges and opportunities for low and middle income countries such as Philippines. According to the MDG report 2015, while some UN member states made significant achievements in health-related targets, others affected by high levels of HIV/AIDS, economic hardship or conflict are falling behind.


As PH currently experiences the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world, efforts to achieve SDG 3 must be intensified to ensure that no Filipino is left behind.



The ‘dignity’ of people with mental health conditions should be respected


One should be mindful of the fact that the arrival of the National Mental Health Week this October made no difference for those people who are suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, and other mental health conditions.

In an online press release, World Health Organization (WHO) stressed that people with mental health conditions are deprived of their human rights, discriminated against, and subjected to emotional and physical abuse.

WHO explained that mental health is a state where an individual realizes his/her abilities, copes with normal stresses of life, works productively, and makes contributions to one’s community. However, people’s mental health suffers due to reasons such as rapid social change, stressful work conditions, discrimination, unhealthy lifestyle, and human rights violations.

 WHO also pointed out that the dignity of people with mental health conditions is not respected. While they are suffering from their mental conditions, they are also locked up in institutions, subjected to various types of abuses, denied access to basic services, deprived of their right to make their own decisions, or prevented from participating fully in society.

With the theme “Dignity in mental health,” this year’s celebration aims to raise awareness of the ways to ensure that people with mental health conditions can continue to live with dignity through human-oriented policy and law, training of health professionals, and public information campaigns.

Dignity, which is understood as person’s innate value or worth, can be attained through respect and recognition, WHO explained. Emphasizing that dignity is needed to achieve mental health, WHO emphasized that people with mental health conditions should be given freedom from violence and discrimination, inclusion in community life, and participation in policy and decision making.

WHO also stresses the importance of providing them with community-based services. For more information about the National Mental Health Week 2015, visit You can also access find out more about facts on mental health. ■