Eastern Visayas undertakes first biomedical research and a study on dengue health seeking behaviors

Researchers from Eastern Visayas lead health research initiatives dedicated to addressing health issues such as premature birth, low birth weight, and dengue.

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Emphasizing the importance of cultivating a vibrant health research community in the region, Eastern Visayas Health Research and Development Consortium (EVHRDC) Chair Dr. Exuperia Sabalberino showcased two research projects during the latest Talakayang HeaRT Beat press conference held last 09 August 2023, at the Summit Hotel in Tacloban City. 

Highlighted in the activity is the first biomedical device research conducted in the region, “Project BUHAT (Babies Under Heat Assisted Technology) Kangaroo Mother Assistive Device,” led by Dr. Virginia Ariza of the Holy Infant College (HIC). The project aims to support the implementation of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) in more healthcare facilities in Region 8 by developing a KMC assistive device that can monitor a premature and low birth weight newborn’s temperature, provide increased mobility for the newborn, and offer support to both the newborn and its mother. Currently, the team has developed a device prototype and is now gearing for clinical testing, which will be funded by the EVHRDC. 

In her presentation, Dr. Sabalberino also shared the project “Health-seeking Behavior of Dengue Patients and Carers during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Naval and Kawayan, Biliran,” by Dr. Arlene Supremo of the Biliran Provincial State University (BPSU). Noting the decline in dengue reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study examined the health-seeking behavior of dengue patients and their carers in Biliran. The study revealed that both patients and carers have differing health-seeking behaviors during the three phases of dengue which is indicative of a low healthcare utilization and poor management of the disease. These results can be used by concerned health institutions for policy development on dengue control and management.

During the open forum, EVHRDC representatives further discussed the status of the two featured research projects. Questions on the details of the project, utilization and commercialization, as well as the impact of these initiatives in the region arose from the media. Participants also probed on  the other projects in Eastern Visayas supported by the Consortium focusing on mental health, teenage pregnancy, dengue, and more were also discussed.

Around 50 members of the media in Eastern Visayas participated in the Talakayang HeaRT Beat, a press conference that provides the latest updates on health research in the country. Anchored under this year’s celebration of the PNHRS Week, the press conference featured the PNHRS, its impact to health, and the research activities of the EVHRDC. 

Replay of the press conference may be accessed through the DOST-PCHRD Facebook page.

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