The success of the three-day celebration of the 6th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week is an affirmation of the remarkable support and commitment of health research stakeholders nationwide despite the inclement weather. Undeterred by the threats of the monsoon or Habagat, about 500 health research stakeholders, partners and supporters from different parts of the country came and participated in the event. Celebrated on August 8-10, 2012 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila with the theme Sustaining Research Partnerships for Better Health, the occasion provided a venue for stakeholders to interact, to learn from each other, to share information and to contribute to research-based solutions to health problems in support of the country’s Kalusugang Pangkalahatan agenda.
The event’s first day highlighted three simultaneous sessions on Ethics, Research Utilization and Governance and Resource Mobilization where stakeholders from the regions convened to discuss learning experiences, challenges and action plans. The Research Writing Clinic: Hands-on Review with Editors session, meanwhile, gathered researchers whose draft manuscripts were critiqued and assessed by experts to prepare them for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
The opening ceremony, marked with a ribbon-cutting program for the poster, consortia and best mentor exhibits, was led by the PNHRS four core agencies officials, namely: Dr. Jaime C. Montoya of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST); Secretary Enrique T. Ona of the Department of Health; Dr. Catherine Q. Castañeda of the Commission on Higher Education-NCR; and Dr. Vicente Belizario Jr. of the University of the Philippines Manila.
On the second day, latest initiatives and current issues confronting the health research community was the focus of the four parallel sessions, namely: 1) Regional Research Presentation; 2) Research Funding Agreements and Technology Transfer Act of 2009; 3) Culture of Publishing: Institutional Journals and Accrediting Bodies; and 4) Research Writing Clinic: Hands-on Review with Editors Part II. During lunch break, DOST launched the Secretary’s Cup, a national advocacy program for Universal Health Care (UHC). The Cup features a series of activities including talks of Health Secretaries, debates and town hall meetings in selected areas of the country aiming to showcase UHC and its impact to the Filipinos. Opening the discussion for the month of August was former DOH Secretary and PCHRD Executive Director Alberto G. Romualdez who delivered a talk on health systems governance.
The last day of the celebration started with the presentation of Dr. Manju Rani, Senior Technical Officer of the Western Pacific Regional Office World Health Organization (WHO), on systematic archiving and health research data sharing in the Philippines which highlights key steps in developing the country’s own data archiving and retrieval system. The plenary session on Investing in Health Research: Public-Private Sector Partnership in Health Research brought forth responses from the private and public sector on possible areas of collaboration to support the country’s health agenda and the bigger role of government in allocating funds for health research.
The PNHRS Week is celebrated every second week of August by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 1309 signed last June 2007. With the aim of promoting and enhancing cooperation between and among organizations and networks within the PNHRS, it is held alternately in the regions and Metro Manila each year. (Ana Ciaren P. Hipolito)