Alugbati is one of the widely consumed vegetables in Asia, however it is relatively understudied for its benefits. It is known to exhibit a wide range of biological functions and is traditionally recognized as a medical plant with anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer potential.

Asst. Professor Darcy Garza from the Department of Chemistry at De La Salle University, presented the study entitled “The Genotoxic Potential of Basella alba Linn. Var. rubra on MCF-7 Cells” during the Metro Manila Health Research and Development Consortium’s (MMHRDC) 2nd International Symposium and 9th Annual Scientific Conference Oral Presentation held on 24-25 May 2018 at Pan Pacific Hotel, Manila. The event was bannered by the theme “Food Fortification in Universal Health Care.”  The study was recognized as the best research presented during the conference.

The study was a result of the collaboration of De La Salle University and St. Luke’s Medical Center. The research determined the genotoxicity of alugbati leaf extracts on MCF-7 cells which is the most studied human breast cancer cell line in the world. The researchers found out that alugbati leaves subjected to enzyme-assisted hydrolysis or juice extractions prepared in an organosulfur compound caused considerable damage in MCF-7 cells. This means that alugbati shows promising properties that could fight off breast cancer cell lines.

Three outstanding researches were also recognized during the conference. “Multi-core Microencapsulation of Lactobacillus acidophilus using Lipid-based Material and Carbohydrate-based Matrix for Functional Food Application,” “Characterization of In VitroEffects of Using Purified Coconut Oil Bodies as Encapsulating Agents for Doxorubicin and Paclitaxel,” and “An Evaluation on Nicotine Absorption and Health Risk Utilizing Human Scum Cotinine and Polycyclic aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Among Filipino Classical Cigarette Users and E-Cigarette Users” won first, second, and third respectively.

To officially close the conference, NIH Executive Director Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-De La Paz delivered the closing remarks. She thanked the organizers and delegates for the hard work and reminded everyone that it is important to remember the role of food fortification in the control of micronutrient deficiency and malnutrition in the country. Finally, she urged everyone to conduct more research that would support food fortification and continue to do good work in promoting a healthier Filipino nation.


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Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig


According to the Department of Health (DOH), a total of 131 827 dengue cases were reported in 2017 which was 36.9 percent lower than the cases recorded in 2016. Although this is a considerably lower amount, dengue remains as one of the most fatal epidemics in the country.

June was declared Dengue Awareness Month (Proclamation No. 1204) since 1998 to highlight how prevention and control of dengue would require collaborative efforts among national and local government agencies as well as private NGOs.

PCHRD supports dengue research

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development supports studies aiming to improve the current situation of dengue. Some of the Council’s assisted projects have won and been recognized in various R&D invention contests and exhibits. One of them is the OL Trap technology featured at the R&D 100 magazine which chose to honor 100 technologies that are deemed to have great contributions to S&T development. More recently, BIOTEK-M Dengue Aqua Kit was one of the gold awardees during the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva, Switzerland.

OL Trap technology makes use of simple and readily-available materials that attracts female Aedes Aegypti (dengue carrier) to lay eggs on a strip soaked with larvicide solution. The absorbed solution from the lawanit strip eventually kills the egg and larvae preventing the mosquito to reach maturity. OL Trap kits are commercially-available and may be purchased in selected markets nationwide.

BIOTEK-M Dengue Aqua Kit is a commercialized and locally-developed technology designed to accurately detect dengue. It uses isothermal PCR technology, in which the nucleic acid is extracted from the blood and added to a mixture. After an hour, the mixture will change color: green indicates a positive result, orange negative. The kit is very affordable which costs only a third of the usual dengue kit detection used in hospitals. BIOTEK-M is designed to accurately detect dengue.

In the spirit of awareness, the Council encourages everyone to follow simple but effective steps like removing or covering all possible areas with stagnant water, installing screens on window or opening of the house, investing in mosquito repellant, wearing long-sleeved shirts when outdoors, and getting a vaccination to avoid being infected with the disease.


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Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig


The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), together with #HealthXph and Alliance for Improving Health Outcomes (AIHO), will hold the 4th Philippine Healthcare and Social Media Summit on 9 June 2018 at Grand Regal Hotel, Davao City.

Bannered by the theme “Social Media and Health Professions Education: Shaping the Future through Research and Innovation,” the summit will highlight the impact of social media in health professions, education, and research.

Participants from different sectors are expected to take part in the 6 tracks and healthcare social media research podium presentation. The program tracks are Track 1: Use of social media by teachers in health professions education, Track 2: Use of social media by students, Track 3: Establishing personal learning networks on Twitter for medical educators and healthcare professionals, Track 4: Building presence for advocacies on social media, Track 5: Developing policies for social media, and Track 6: Social media for patients and advocates.

Admission to the summit is free. Interested participants may register at www.bit.ly/hcsmph2018


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Written by Lemuel Basierto


The Department of Health (DOH), through its AHEAD (Advancing Health through Evidence-Assisted Decisions) strategy, aims to inform the health sector’s global and national administrative and legislative policy agenda, create an equitable and enabling environment for health policy and systems researchers all over the country, and ensure the progressive realization of the envisioned research system.

With the continued commitment of DOH in training the next generation for health sector leaders, researchers, policy analysts, and program managers, they have partnered with the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research Development (DOST-PCHRD) in order to implement the DOH Research Fellowship Program.

Objectives:

1. Train young professionals in conceptualizing, developing, implementing, and communicating health research of national and global policy significance
2. Produce and use research evidence to influence national policy-making and legislation, and program development, and implementation
3. Establish a cadre of young professionals with emerging expertise in the field of health systems research, policy, and data analysis, research communication, and research management

Scope of Work:

1. Identify research gaps in health policy and systems
2. Develop and design a health policy and systems research addressing identified research gaps/ health policy and systems issues
3. Collect and analyze data using a range of quantitative and qualitative techniques
4. Systematically search, appraise and synthesize research evidence
5. Communicate evidence to influence policy-making and legislation through the development of policy briefs, policy notes and other knowledge products as appropriate
6. Apply research evidence in day-to-day practice to improve health policy and systems
7. Participate in research capacity building activities organized by DOH
8. Comply with DOH standards and protocols

Deliverables:

1. Publishable collaborative research article
2. Collaborative health policy analysis
3. Research brief/s
4. Technical review or critical appraisal of a proposed or completed research work
5. Technical reports (such as position papers, policy notes, technical presentations, meeting reports, aide memoires, terms of reference and the like)
6. Attendance to at least 80% of capacity building activities
7. Timely submission of monthly accomplishment report approved by the DOH management
8. Other policy and research related technical tasks as may be required

Preferred Qualifications:

1. Preferably Doctor of Medicine/ Master’s Degree in Economics/Epidemiology; fields of study must be on policy and research development, public health and/or any related        area in the Social and Medical Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics
2. Fluency in the English and Filipino languages; mastery in research and analytical writing
3. At least 1-2 years relevant work experience, previous work experience in DOH is a plus factor
4. Skills in planning, organizing and managing
5. Knowledge and experience in research management
6. Proficient computer skills, particularly for technical report-writing and presentation preparation

Duration:

Two years, non-renewable

Compensation:

Commensurate with qualifications

Expression of Interest:

Qualified applicants may file their application together with the following documents at 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.:

1. Cover letter addressed to:

KENNETH G. RONQUILLO, MD, MPHM, CESO III
Director IV
Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau
Department of Health

2. Curriculum Vitae

Deadline of submission is on or before June 6, 2018.

For queries, contact Ms. Juanita R. Valeza at 651-7800 local 1326/1328 or Ms. Ian Hannah C. Gozun at (02) 837-7537

Hypertension is considered as the number one contributing risk factor for global deaths, causing strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular complications. The month of May is declared as the “National Awareness Month” to prevent and control this disease.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development is one with the International Society of Hypertension and the Department of Health in celebrating the national awareness month to raise consciousness and to encourage citizens of all countries to counter this modern epidemic.

#KnowYourNumbers

This year’s theme for the hypertension awareness campaign is #KnowYourNumbers which aims to enhearten everyone to have their blood pressure checked and measured. The proportion of strokes in younger adults is rising each year and it is mainly caused by high blood pressure or hypertension, public health agencies urge the public to know your number regardless of age.

According to the Philippine Heart Association, normal blood pressure will fall under 120 over 80. This is the ideal blood pressure for people with lower risk of heart disease or stroke. The longer a person lets his blood pressure go high, the more it can cause irreversible damages to the body.

National Hypertension Awareness Month is an opportunity not only to campaign to have your blood pressure checked but also to check other health risk factors such as blood sugar and cholesterol to ensure a healthy body.

Research on Hypertension

PCHRD supports studies that are aligned with National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA). Some of the researches on hypertension are being conducted under NUHRA priority areas such as Tuklas Lunas and OMIC Technologies for Health Research and Development.

The Tuklas Lunas Program is the Council’s program on drug discovery and development from the natural resources of the country. For the herbal track of the program, 28 plants such as malunggay are currently undergoing formulation and standardization studies for hypertension and other diseases.  For drug track, 10 plants for hypertension are undergoing isolation and purification activities to identify active compounds.

On the other hand, Omics focuses on using omic technology platforms in developing local technologies which can lead to the development of personalized healthcare and as support to clinical practice guidelines and policies in the country. Significantly, the program on “Genomic Researches on Hypertension, Coronary Artery Disease and Dyslipidemia towards the Development of Individualized Diagnostic and Therapeutic Strategies” has produced an initial list of genes indicating specific drug response of Filipino patients to selected medications against cardiovascular diseases.

Raising Consciousness

Hypertension Awareness Month is also celebrated alongside the international campaign for May Measurement Month which is an initiative to screen millions of people who have not had their blood pressures measured.

The Council encourages everyone to maintain a healthy body in order to avoid developing hypertension and to #KnowYourNumbers by visiting your doctors regularly and by checking your BPs. This will help people to live a better life that is free from hypertension.

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Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig