To achieve Kalusugang Pangkalahatan or Universal Health Care, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique Ona emphasized the research community’s vital role in improving the country’s health programs and services during the 30th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) at the Shangri-La Hotel Makati City on 16 March 2012.

“In order to be resource-wise in implementing health services and programs, research results are essential in coming up with evidence-based solutions to problems which will guide implementers and policymakers what programs should be prioritized, which interventions or courses of actions are cost-effective and have greater impact,” said Secretary Ona.

There are potential research areas that researchers should look into, according to Secretary Ona. These include studies on health financing, health facilities development, health manpower distribution and healthcare delivery in geographically isolated and disadvantage areas (GIDA).

 
Congressman Angelo B. Palmones of AGHAM stresses his support for the PNHRS Bill

 

To address the pressing health needs of the Filipinos, one of the bills being pushed by the Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM) Party List is the Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Act of 2011.

Titled, "An Act Institutionalizing the Philippine National Health Research System," the Bill mandates selected government agencies to allocate a percentage of their gross annual income to health R&D activities. When the bill turns into law, PNHRS will be assured of a stable fund source to support health researchers in generating ethical and relevant health knowledge and innovations.

To remove the Philippines from the list of the top rabies countries in the world, the national government enacted Republic Act 9482, also known as the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007. This law led to the creation of the National Anti-Rabies Committee and the National Anti-Rabies Program, the framework that promotes cooperation among government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs) and people's organization (POs) for the prevention and control of rabies in the country.

"Cooperation is an essential strategy in the anti-rabies program. Without cooperation, the target to attain a rabies-free Philippines on 2020 may not be possible," said Atty. Heidi Caguioa of the Animal Kingdom Foundation during the Quezon City Rabies Prevention and Control Summit held at Quezon City Hall on 22 March 2012.

Even though the law has been in place since 2007, only few violators have been penalized and imprisoned according to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) of the Department of Agriculture (DA). "This is due to lack of cooperation and serious implementation of the law in some communities in the provinces and even in Metro Manila," said Atty. Caguioa.

 
Former President of the UP System Dr. Emerlinda Roman delivers speech for Senator Edgardo Angara

"Today, we know much more than we ever knew about the human body and the threats to it. We enjoy a wide range of technologies to facilitate discovery. As a result, new and unprecedented trends are emerging in the research arena," said Senator Edgardo J. Angara in his speech delivered by Dr. Emerlinda R. Roman, former President of the University of the Philippines (UP) System during the 30th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST).

According to Senator Angara, good research comes hand-in-hand with innovation. New information is put to use by innovation, and innovation opens doors to generate new information.

Dogs are said to be man,s best friend. However, it is sad to know that dogs are the carriers of more than 99 percent of human rabies resulting to 55,000 deaths every year worldwide.

The culprit behind the increasing rabies cases and deaths is accounted to stray dogs. However, an expert from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) Ms. Sarah Vallentine stressed, "We cannot address the problem on rabies by simply removing stray dogs in the street without addressing the problem in human behaviour."