Learnings from the Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week

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With the theme Research and Innovation for Equity in Health, the 12th Philippine National Health Research System Week was held on August 6-9, 2018at the CAP John Hay Trade and Cultural Center, Baguio City with about 1,400 participants coming from different parts of the country. Organized by the Philippine Council for health Research and Development in collaboration with the Cordillera Regional Health Research and Development Consortium,the conference serve as a platform for participants to discuss the current situation, challenges and advancements related to health and equity through reinforced health research and innovation in the regions and local communities.

Four personnel from the Cooperative Development Authority-Cordillera Administrative Region Extension Office in the persons of Mr. Dickson Aycud, Ms. Mirasol Laoyan, Ms. Priscilla Bejar and the undersigned joined the activities on the August 8-9, 2018. We missed the first two days that focused on Satellite events related to research presentations both student and professional level; Updates on Ethics in Research; Translating Research into Policy; Understanding the Data Privacy Act in the Context of Health Research; Welcome Dinner and Opening of Exhibits.

We gladly participated on the third and fourth day of the activity where we observed how the registration of participants was handled with the aid of technology. One factor that facilitated the process was the requirement for on-line registration of participants that minimized walk-in registration. Issuance of Identification Cards bearing QR Code helped in the efficient handling of the registration of participants during the fourth day including the issuance of Certificate of Appearance and Certificate of Participation.

The messages and stories of different speakers from private and public institutions engaged the active participation of delegates. The plenary sessions and Tongtongan allowed participants to relate with the panel of experts that provided inputs and clarifications. Equally important are the works of researchers and various products of local entrepreneurs that were displayed in a designated exhibit area. Also, the presented best practices and approaches employed by local government unit and health related institutions in relation to advocacy and promotion of health services provided opportunities for participants to appreciate the technological advancements in the country.

The scientific papers presented that documented the importance of locally available resources with medical importance and developed software using applications to help in mitigating the effects of events or disasters to human life are highly appreciated. Such works and innovations can help close health related development gaps as more people in the country continually explore measures to address inequality.

Further, the challenge of inequalities in the country is a gargantuan task not only in the access to better health but also on education; economic aspects; etc. towards a happy life for every Filipino. The researches presented were often assisted by academic institutions or results of requirements for professional growth and made use of quantitative research. I go with the proposal of Dr. Casper Palaganas. Harnessing qualitative research can help advance the conduct of more health researches in the country. But do we have enough number of researchers trained on this field?

While the different activities were conducted my mind wandered on the plight of cooperatives. It touched my senses to reflect on the status of cooperative members. How do they implement programs and activities to address health related issues? Some cooperatives implement health assistance to employees, officers and members. Some members rely on government assistance through the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation. However, are there researches conducted on the extent of benefits received by members from cooperatives?

Also, the challenge is how to further come up with development interventions using cooperatives to help advance health related services to members. Hopefully researchers will conduct project proposals and studies in the future involving cooperatives and other stakeholders. We hope more training related to research will be held in the region. Inclusion of cooperative leaders as stakeholders to join the growing number of researchers would be a welcome development.

Finally, we commend the organizers, participants; committees and sponsors that took part in the event. Managing 1,400 people is not an easy job. This shows how cooperation, collaboration and coordination work in organizations.

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