First Southeast Asian nation to implement WHO 2009 recommendation

Another rotavirus vaccine milestone was reached today, as the Philippines became the first country in Southeast Asia to implement the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation to introduce life-saving rotavirus vaccines through its national immunization program. Rotavirus diarrhea exacts an enormous toll on the health of young Filipino children and the nation’s healthcare resources:


  • An estimated 3,500 children under age five die from rotavirus diarrhea annually (12% of all diarrheal deaths).
  • 77% of children are infected with severe rotavirus before their second birthday.
  • 31% of young child diarrhea-related hospitalizations are due to rotavirus.
  • 30% of young child diarrhea-related emergency room visits are due to rotavirus.



During the 13th Asian Conference on Diarrheal Disease and Nutrition (ASCODD) in Manila, Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona announced that the Philippines will introduce rotavirus vaccines with an initial focus on children living in the poorest communities, which have the highest child morbidity and mortality rates from diarrheal diseases.

Celebrating the first Filipino babies vaccinated against rotavirus through the national immunization program, ASCODD 2012


Asia bears a staggering burden of rotavirus disease. 42% of the 435,000 annual global rotavirus-related deaths occur in Asia. According to WHO 2010 surveillance estimates, 45% of Asian children hospitalized for diarrhea test positive for rotavirus.


The demonstrated health and economic burden of rotavirus in Asia is substantial, and recent studies have shown that rotavirus vaccination can be cost-effective in Asia. However, countries in the region have not introduced rotavirus vaccines into their national immuization programs. This reluctance is due in part to the uncertainty regarding the cost to purchase vaccines. While there are a number of GAVI-eligible countries in Asia , the Philippines and many other countries in the region are lower-middle and middle-income countries and are therefore not eligible to apply to GAVI for co-financing for vaccine introduction.


In Latin America, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has developed a revolving fund to pool resources of countries to negotiate for lower vaccine prices. At ASCODD, rotavirus technical experts discussed strategies to increase the accessibility, availability, and affordability of rotavirus vaccines in Asia, including a potential regional cost-sharing model similar in concept to the PAHO Revolving Fund.


Rapid and remarkable reductions in hospitalization and deaths due to rotavirus and all-cause diarrhea have been observed in many of the 30 countries that have introduced rotavirus vaccines into their national immunization programs. The decline of severe and fatal diarrhea following the introduction of rotavirus vaccines underscores the incredible potential for rotavirus vaccines to save children’s lives in Asia and around the world. We hope that the announcment by the Philippines will encourage other Asian countries to intensify their efforts towards national introduction of rotavirus vaccines.



PATH collaborates on rotavirus vaccine activities with the CDC, WHO, UNICEF, vaccine manufacturers, and countries around the world. RotaFlash is funded by the GAVI Alliance.


For information on rotavirus disease and RotaFlash, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us. For information on diarrheal disease, please visit DefeatDD’s website. For information on the GAVI Alliance’s support for rotavirus vaccine introduction, please click here.



Banner photo courtesy of One: Living Proof.


Other photo:


Bernd Benninghoff, GlaxoSmithKline. 13th Asian Conference on Diarrheal Disease and Nutrition (ASCODD): Tagatay City, The Philippines.


Sources for Figure:


Tate JE et. al. 2008 estimate of worldwide rotavirus-associated mortality in children younger than 5 years before the introduction of universal rotavirus vaccination programmes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. In press.
Abstract available here.


Podewils LJ et al. Projected cost-effectiveness of rotavirus vaccination for children in Asia.  Journal of Infectious Disease. 2005; 192(Sup 1):S133–45.

DOST Sec. Montejo bares the Department's five-point development program for 2012.

Sec. Mario G. Montejo of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) affirms the Department’s commitment in implementing its Five-Point Development Program for the year 2012.

“In the coming year and beyond, the DOST is committed to fully implement its Five-Point DOST Development Program in line with the Aquino Administration’s national development agenda,” Sec. Montejo said.

The five-point agenda of the program focuses on providing breakthroughs and achievements in science and technology that Filipinos, especially local entrepreneurs, can benefit from. As such, the Department’s development program will center around the creation of local technologies that can be commercially used and accessed by ordinary Filipinos and will help with the growth of local industries.

“It is our wish to impress upon our publics the impact of DOST’s mandate in accelerating the pace of knowledge-driven development in accordance with its growth potential in the country,” Sec. Montejo stressed.

The Secretary explained that the first in the DOST’s agenda is to explore the role of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the development of new technologies through research and development programs in solving national concerns in health, agriculture, environment and other sectors. The other agenda include finding ways on how to make new technologies accessible to people in the rural areas, helping improve the competitiveness of homegrown industries (such as business process outsourcing, electronics, renewable energy and mining industry), easing the delivery of government and social services to the public (through the use of the initiatives made in Government Broadband Network, National Telehealth Services, and the National 3D Mapping), and providing better opportunities for the country’s advancement in the fields of emerging technologies like biotechnology, nanotechnology, genomics, advanced food production technology, and advanced manufacturing.

The secretary emphasized the importance of the agency’s implementation of the five-point development program in helping the growth of local businesses in Philippines and urged everyone to support the Department in its goals for the year 2012.

“We will always promote local technologies toward the nurturing of a business environment that addresses the special needs of technology-based entrepreneurship,” said the Secretary.

UP Diliman OVCRD Colloquium 2012

The Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development (OVCRD) of UP Diliman invites everyone to its first major event for 2012, the Paliwanagan sa UP Diliman – OVCRD Colloquium 2012. It will be held on 16 January 2012, 8 AM-5PM, at the National Institute of Physics Auditorium, National Science Complex, UP Diliman.


The Colloquium aims to: 1) showcase OVCRD-funded research and development (R&D) projects, programs, and initiatives, 2) discuss available institutional support to UPD researchers and creative workers, 3) acquaint UPD constituents about research and creative work initiatives of their colleagues in other UPD units, and 4) highlight the complete R&D cycle from proposal writing through intellectual property (IP) creation and invention, to IP dissemination and utilization.


Twenty-five OVCRD-supported R&D initiatives will be presented during the Colloquium. Six of these initiatives are completed or ongoing interdisciplinary researches or creative works under the Open Grants program, while 19 are new initiatives under the Source of Solutions Grants (SOS) program. The SOS Grants is a new program launched to encourage researches and creative works addressing pressing problems of/in UP Diliman. In addition, there will be a presentation of the accomplishments of the 10-year program of the CHED-UPD Zonal Research Center. There will also be a parallel event to the Colloquium, featuring OVCRD information booths, UP Diliman publications, and information about UPD’s research partners. (Details of the Colloquium Programme can be found here.)


The event’s theme, Paliwanagan, takes off from colloquium’s literal meaning, i.e. a conversation or dialogue. Paliwanagan sa UP Diliman, therefore, is envisioned as a platform for dialogue among UP Diliman researchers and creative workers, a dialogue that is to be conducted in the spirit of exchange and understanding. As such, the Colloquium sessions have been designed as a venue for sharing research information, experiences and insights between the presenters and the attendees. The parallel event provides a glimpse into the broader context of the R&D process, in terms of various forms of institutional support and other opportunities available to UPD researchers and creative workers. Through the sessions and the parallel event, the OVCRD hopes that the UP Diliman community will gain a better understanding of how R&D progresses in the campus, leading to a sharing of inputs on how a responsive, proactive and dynamic R&D program can better be achieved in UP Diliman, making the University a source of solutions for the problems besetting the country.

To participate in this event, please pre-register by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by 11 January 2012. Please provide your: a) name, b) sector (e.g., faculty, REPS, graduate student, undergraduate student, etc.), c) affiliation (e.g., College/Unit and Department), and d) for graduate students, your degree program and faculty adviser. For more information, please call (632) 927-2568/436-8720/981-8500 local 4048 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Colloquium updates are also posted on the OVCRD’s website.

DOST Sec. Montejo describes the Mosquito OL Trap as "proactive approach in disaster risk reduction and management" as he hails it as one of the DOST's breakthrough technologies for 2011.

The year 2011 saw the emergence of various national issues concerning health and safety of Filipinos here in the country and abroad. In his 2011 year-end message, Sec. Mario G. Montejo of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) revealed how the Department successfully addressed different public concerns, such as climate change, disaster relief mitigation, and outbreaks of diseases, among other things, that affected the Philippines in the past year.

The Secretary proudly cited the agency’s Mosquito Ovicidal-Larvicidal (OL) Trap, a project supported by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), and the Department’s unrelenting campaign to bring as many kits of this mosquito trap to families that are at direct risk of dengue, as one of the successful projects for the year 2011.

“This proactive approach in disaster risk reduction and management, which President Aquino cited on numerous occasions, characterized DOST’s most important achievement under the Aquino administration,” Sec. Montejo said.

High Impact Technology Solutions (HITS) were also hailed as among the agency’s breakthroughs and achievements in 2011. The program helped launched technologies such as the Automatic Weather Stations and Automatic Rain Gauges (to provide better weather updates during typhoons), water nanofiltration containers (for the prevention of water borne diseases), and complementary foods (to help fight malnutrition).

Aside from providing tangible technology to the people, the Department also helped with the dissemination of accurate information regarding the incident in Fukushima nuclear power plant last year. The agency ensured that factual updates about the developments in Fukushima were made in order to inform the Filipinos and prevent any false alarms that will result to confusion.

The Secretary enlightened everyone that science and technology is here, not just to improve the way we live and do things, but also to help us survive in desperate times.

“Scientific understanding and technological adeptness should always serve human needs not only to enhance the quality of life but also to save lives,” the Secretary explained.

Stakeholders in health research convened and signed the Dasmarinas Declaration on Harmonization of Clinical Trials towards Good Clinical Practices (GCP) – enabled Philippines on 24 November 2011 at the De la Salle Angelo King Medical Research Center, Dasmarinas City, Cavite.

The meeting discussed issues, challenges, best practices and lessons learned on clinical trials and GCP in the Philippines. The meeting aimed to develop a consensus guideline for a world-class model on ethical, GCP-compliant clinical trials in the country.

Clinical trials are research studies involving human volunteers which are undertaken to determine the effectiveness of a device, drug, treatment or diagnostic method. According to Dr. Jaime Montoya, Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST), clinical trials are traditionally conducted in wealthy countries like North America and Western Europe. However, there is a shifting trend from Europe to Latin America and Asia. “That is why we need to capacitate ourselves in capturing the demand for clinical trials worldwide.”

In his presentation, Dr. Montoya mentioned that the country has very low investment in terms of product R&D because of weak coordination among researchers, innovators, private and public sectors.

This statement was backed-up by a study conducted by the Commission on Health Research for Development (COHRED) that only 10% of the world resources is allotted for health research for the health problems of 90% of the world’s population.

Dr. Montoya also suggested the creation of the Philippine Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (PhilCRINET). Similar to the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN), PhilCRINET would serve as coordinating body for clinical research centers and clinical trial units in the country.

The Dasmariñas declaration stated that health research institutions in the country will support public-private partnership (PPP) and share best practices and lessons learned to develop the Philippines as a world-class model and venue for ethical, GCP-compliant clinical trials. The Declaration also emphasizes the rights, safety and well-being of clinical trial participants and their communities, towards the promotion of better health of all Filipinos.

Participants of the meeting included stakeholders from the research and academic institutions, patient and public health advocacy groups, and other government organizations. The Philippine Clinical Epidemiology Network (PHILCLEN), De La Salle - Health Sciences Institute (DLS-HSI) and PCHRD-DOST spearheaded the event.