Congratulations to the Winners and Finalists of the Gelia Castillo Award for Research on Social Innovations in Health


The Gelia Castillo Award for Research on Social Innovations in Health (GCARSIH) aims to recognize the outstanding social innovations that address persistent, societal and health systems challenges. In 2020, we set out to find brilliant solutions that address complex gaps in health care and to celebrate the changemakers who create effective, meaningful and sustainable solutions for Filipinos.


A total of 67 entries were sent in by innovators across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. After screening by respective RHRDCs and evaluation by innovation, healthcare, and health research experts, we are proud to present the finalists and winners of this year’s award:


Presenting the Winners:


1st place - Holistic Water Systems for Pumping Water Uphill

  • This innovation was initiated by the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation (AIDFI) to help villages across the country gain access to clean and safe water. AIDFI is a Philippine Social Enterprise engaged in the designing, manufacturing, and installation of low- cost technologies for the basic needs of the poor with its AIDFI model hydraulic ram pump as its flagship. The environment friendly ram pumps water uphill to waterless communities in an increased volume 24/7 without fuel or electricity, thereby improving the lives of communities in terms of health, nutrition, and sanitation.

2nd place - University of the Philippines Diliman Psychosocial Services

  • UPD PsycServe is a three-year-old special project under the UPD Chancellor’s Office. This innovation successfully provided the university with a model on how to respond to the increasingly pressing mental health and wellbeing concerns of its students, faculty and staff in a systematic, holistic, and caring manner. The work of PsycServ has proven to be most helpful within and outside the campus that processes are underway to establish it a regular office in the university.

3rd place - Kalinga Health: A Hub-and-Spoke Social Enterprise Model in Engaging the Private Sector for Improved Tuberculosis Care

  • This innovation was initiated by Innovations for Community Health, in partnership with ACCESS Health International. Kalinga Health is a healthcare systems innovation-social enterprise that aims to solve the "missing cases" of tuberculosis, those that are mostly seen in the private sector but are inadequately treated. This is achieved through one-stop treatment and diagnostics hubs that act as "intermediaries" or "interfaces" to the private sector by connecting the public sector, the National TB Program, and a network of engaged private providers (physicians, polyclinics, laboratories, and hospitals). 



Presenting our Finalists:


Baby Bonding Philippines

  • Baby Bonding is a preventive and early intervention program for parents and babies based on social brain research that healthy bonding between babies and carers prevent future health problems. This program was initiated to innovate Baby Bonding in the Philippines for the “last, least and littlest” be given the best start possible.

BHW Academy

  • BHW Academy is a comprehensive, outcome-based capacity-building program that was developed to further professionalize the role of Barangay Health Workers. This innovation uses a community- and systems-based approach through curriculum development, stakeholder management and policy development.

falls PACT

  • The falls PACT program involves incorporating cognitive training elements into a series of physical exercises. It engages senior citizens in fun and challenging activities to help address the decline in both physical and cognitive functions.

Zuellig Family Foundation - Health Change Model

  • The ZFF Health Change Model promotes greater accountability among local chief executives and municipal health leaders in creating health care systems that are responsive to the needs of the poor. Interventions include transformative training, practicum with coaching, and mentoring.

PPE Needs Dashboard App

  • The PPE Needs Dashboard is a web application that aims to bridge the gap between under-resourced health facilities and those willing to contribute to their PPE needs. It also provides a way for organizations to manage and coordinate donations and deliveries of PPEs.

Telepsychiatry

  • This innovation of the Southern Philippines Medical Center helps address the mental health access gap for people in areas with limited psychiatric services, in Regions 10 and 11. The Telepsychiatry program revolutionized the mental health care service in the country by starting the first virtual live consultation. 

Young House Heroes Initiative

  • This innovation is inspired by the belief that young people can help their fellow young people cope with mental health issues even when they are stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Young House Heroes Initiative focuses on strengthening key areas of intersectionality in the current mental health delivery framework of the Philippines.

Congratulations to the winners and finalists of GCARSIH. We celebrate you, the innovators – your exceptional solutions truly inspire us all.



In celebration of its 39th anniversary, the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) will hold a webinar on partnerships for health research and development on March 17, 2021 via Zoom and Facebook Livestreaming.

With the theme, “Strategic R&D Partnership for Global Health,” the event will tackle the challenges and opportunities of building R&D partnerships in achieving global health outcomes. The webinar will also feature some of the recent and long-standing collaborations formed by the Council that were translated into technologies, programs, and policies --- making health products and services accessible to every Filipinos especially during a global pandemic.

Atty. Geraldine Acuna-Sunshine, Board Overseer at the Harvard University, will deliver the Keynote Address. Dr. Acuna-Sunshine is also the president of the Sunshine Care Foundation for Neurological Care and Research, an international non-profit organization dedicated to finding innovative ways of delivering free clinical and neurological care to indigent patients in rural areas of Asia. Her work has facilitated international collaborations in the fields of medicine, public health, and science to find effective therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, resulting in cross-collaborations among top scientists at Harvard, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and other preeminent institutions worldwide.

Highlight of the program is the panel discussion on the importance of partnerships as drivers of global health with resource speakers including DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Christina Guevara, Italian Liver Foundation Scientific Director Dr. Claudio Tiribelli, British Embassy Manila Ambassador Daniel Pruce, UP Manila College of Public Health Dean Dr. Vicente Belizario Jr., and League of Cities of the Philippines National President Mayor Evelio Leonardia.

The afternoon parallel sessions will feature the 3-Minute Pitch to Policymakers Competition and the DOST-PCHRD Scholars’ Society Annual Convention.

To know more about the event, visit www.pchrd.dost.gov.ph. and follow us on Facebook (/dostpchrd) and Twitter (@DOST_PCHRD).

Call for Proposals: 2022 AHEAD-HPSR Program


The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and the Department of Health is inviting you to the Call for Proposals for 2022 AHEAD-HPSR research priorities.
  1. Implementation of Province/City – Wide Workload Indicators of Staffing Needs (WISN) Study in Select Universal Health Care Integration Sites (UIS)
  2. Analysis of the Costs to Provide the Optimal Combination of Financial and Non-Financial Incentives that is Effective in Ensuring Adequate Distribution and Retention of Health Human Resource in Primary Care
  3. Phase II – Skill Mix
  4. Hospital Acquired Infection Rate (Validation Study)
  5. Assessment of Local Capacity of the Pharmaceutical Industry in the Philippines
  6. Market Mapping and Landscape Analysis of the Novel Tobacco Product Industry in the Philippines
  7. Assessment of Indoor Air Quality in Philippine Conveyances During Electronic Cigarette and Tobacco Heating System Use
  8. Impact Assessment on the Implementation Value Added Tax (VAT) Exemption to Medicines Prescribed for Diabetes, Hypertension and High Cholesterol
  9. Impact of Community Quarantine on Persons Who Use Drugs
  10. Health Facility and Household Survey on Access to and Use of Medicines in the Philippines
  11. Review of Innovative Health Financing for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) among ASEAN Member States (Phase 2)

Interested individuals preferably with institutional affiliations that are DOST accredited as science foundation are welcome to apply. You may submit the following initial requirements to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:

  1. Capsule proposal (maximum of 5 pages)
  2. Letter of Intent
  3. Workplan Schedule (Gantt Chart of Activities)
  4. Curriculum Vitae of lead proponent (Principal Investigator/Project Leader)
  5. Profile of the Institution
  6. Endorsement of Agency Head

Deadline of submission of proposals is February 25, 2021. For queries, please contact Mr. Pio Justin Asuncion at (02) 651-7800 local 1326/1328 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

With support from the Department of Science and Technology's Business Innovation through Science and Technology (DOST-BIST) for Industry program, Herbanext Laboratories successfully launched the country’s very first scale-up facility for research on herbal extracts last December 2020. Investing a total of 11.7 million pesos, the DOST supported the acquisition and scaling up of equipment, and the development of the required facilities for the laboratory.

Based in Negros Occidental, the Applied Research and Innovation Laboratory (ARIL) aims to upscale R&D products and prepare them for commercialization. Armed with several state-of-the-art equipment, the laboratory will focus on development of herbal drugs, food supplements, functional foods, herbal cosmetics, and animal health products from the academe, government research centers, and the industry.


ARIL will follow a 7-step strategy in developing food supplements:
  1. Pre-feasibility studies or the analysis on the cost-competitiveness of the product;
  2. Standardization protocols or the identification of the marker compounds or active ingredients for the would-be drugs;
  3. Raw material processing or the identification of the raw materials to be used, as well as the strategy to cultivate them;
  4. Ingredient manufacturing which includes the extraction, concentration, and spray-drying processes;
  5. Formulation and packaging;
  6. Intellectual property rights and trademark applications; and
  7. Registration to the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

We anticipate that the launching of ARIL will bring significant developments in the country’s landscape of herbal drugs research in the coming years,” DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya says. “As the first of its kind here in the Philippines, we are hoping that our researchers and partners in health, especially those engaged in drug discovery and development, will take advantage of this opportunity to scale up the fruits of R&D,” he added.

The ARIL is now accepting clients or contract research for product processing, scale-up services, laboratory services, trainings and internships. Interested parties may reach out to Herbanext through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Part of the Science for Change initiative, the DOST’s BIST program aims to facilitate the acquisition of strategic and relevant technologies by Filipino companies to support R&D activities.



The lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic brought by a highly contagious virus that is believed to have originated from bats led Filipino researchers to assess what kind of pathogens exist in bats thriving in the Philippines.

But this is not a new research intervention in the country. In fact, the team of Dr. Lyre Murao of UP Mindanao conducted a study as early as 2018, with the premise that: since coronaviruses and leptospires have been detected in bats, their zoonotic nature must be investigated. With Mindanao as a biodiversity hotspot, the research team sought what kind of coronaviruses and leptospires lurk in the Philippine wildlife.

By hunting for pathogens in local fruit bats of Davao City, and conducting bat surveys following standard protocols in selected areas in Malagos, the team detected coronaviruses in seven (14%) of the 49 fruit bats collected, all from the lesser short-nosed fruit bat, and leptospires from one bat (2%) identified as Rousettus amplexicaudatus or the Geoffroy’s Rousette. 

This finding, however, is not a point of concern, as the detected coronaviruses and leptospires were found to be distantly related to their human counterparts.



Although this is a good sign, we must not be complacent, as these bats were commonly found in residential, agricultural, and tourist areas thereby inviting potential exposure to humans. Hence, the next step is to sustain wildlife monitoring of pathogens which can be integrated into the pandemic preparedness program of the Philippines by serving as a risk-assessment tool for zoonotic outbreaks,” said Dr. Murao, head of the research team.

Funded and supported by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) through its Regional Research Fund (RRF) program and through the Region 11 Health Research and Development Consortium (RHRDC XI), the team, through its similar efforts, also advocates for the One Health paradigm where promoting a healthy nature is tantamount to healthy people.

As part of the Council’s efforts to encourage new researchers to be actively involved in health research activities without having to compete with more experienced researchers, RRF projects like this research are intended to increase the capabilities of individual researchers in designing, implementing, and managing health research projects.

The research was conceptualized and implemented with the help of Assoc.Prof. Aleyla E. De Cadiz, Asst. Prof. Marion John Michael M. Achondo, Michael G. Bacus, and Marielle M. Udarbe of UP Mindanao- and in collaboration with Professor Sharon Yvette Angelina M. Villanueva of the University of the Philippines Manila and Dr. Roberto P. Puentespina, Jr. of Animal Solutions Veterinary Hospital.