DOH backs research towards PH resiliency vs health threats

Department of Health (DOH) backs cutting-edge and long-term research in building resiliency against future pandemic and health threats. 

DOH OIC-Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire called for the strengthening of research institutions and communities, and an increase of research products to realize the country’s health goals. 

“This community needs to deliver. Even so, as we gear-up to implement what the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act has promised, health policy and systems research become as important as clinical research,” she said during the celebration of the 15th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week.

The activity, held in Clark Freeport Zone, was keynoted by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. 

While the health research landscape is still far from perfect, according to Vergeire, it was better than it was before the pandemic. 

“The pandemic was challenging for all, particularly for our researchers who have risked their lives to continue going to the field, laboratories or hospitals. However, the silver lining that the pandemic brought was better science literacy or even evidence literacy for decision makers, and for a segment of the population, a better appreciation of science driven policies,” she said. 

Relative to this, she lauded the Philippine Genome Center of University of the Philippines and its role in the country’s COVID-19 response. 

She also mentioned that DOH and Department of Science and Technology are at the forefront of ensuring the presidential directive of establishing the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, and the Virology Institute of the Philippines. 

In terms of capacity building among medical frontliners, Vergeire expressed the government’s all-out support through scholarship programs. 

“We hope to send a total of 300 scholars for masteral and PhDs in health to top universities globally, who upon return will be expected to bolster our UHC implementation and our Center for Disease Prevention and Control operations,” she explained. 

In terms of intensifying health reforms, she highlighted linkages with other institutions, and continuous health policy fellowships, internships, and step ladder programs for human resources for health development.

“As we carry on the battle of COVID-19, and march toward UHC, our interest must converge to an even greater degree and result in an even greater determination to achieve our health goals,” she noted.

Carrying the theme, “Health Research: Responding to Challenges Towards National Recovery and Resiliency”, the week-long PNHRS celebration serves as a venue for the health research community to share their insights, best practices, and experiences in developing innovative solution to contribute to national recovery towards achieving resilience through health research and development. 

It is celebrated every second week of August in accordance with Presidential Proclamation No. 1309, series of 2007.