Consortium of researchers pushes health, wellness research

By Minerva Newman

CEBU CITY – A group of researchers is encouraging the academe to go into research and studies to fuel innovation, development and effective implementation of government policies.

Jesus Zamora Jr., coordinator of the Central Visayas Consortium for Health Research and Development (CVCHRD) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) assistant regional director for technical operations, said research provides evidence-based data in creating new products, services and processes, or improving existing ones.

To spur discussion and promote advocacy on research, CVHRD will spearhead the “Central Visayas Health Research and Innovation Conference” on May 9 to 10 at the Cebu Institute of Technology – University (CIT-U) in this city, Zamora said in a Special Kapihan sa PIA forum recently.

The conference will have plenary lectures, podium presentations, research infomercials and/or infographics, and exhibition booths that revolve around social dimensions, and innovations in bio-medical devices for health and wellness.

It is open to the public but CVCHRD will limit the research participants to 10 per each of their member institutions.

At medical schools, research and studies are part of the curriculum, according to Dr. Thelma La Rosa-Fernandez, CVCHRD vice chair and director of the Office of the Academic and International Linkages of the Cebu Institute of Medicine.

“Of course, it is a very tedious process, but it’s a very important thing for them” she said.

Fernandez said research on the “socio-jetlag among Filipinos” will be presented during the plenary session. It will focus on the fact that Filipinos are always on their phones instead of interacting with people, and on HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases.

CVCHRD Executive Committee chair, Dr. Manuel Emerson Donaldo said they want to understand what further research on HIV has been made, the achievements so far and what has been done to combat the disease.

“Everybody knows that Cebu has a very high incidence of HIV, it’s being described as alarming and already an epidemic. We want to know how to control that,” Donaldo said.

The conference will also discuss diets, anti-aging and regenerative medicines.

Research is so important that the government is funding researchers to aid them in their study. P500,000 is allocated to a proposed study after it is approved by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).

“We would like very much to encourage them to be researchers. We have cooperation with different universities abroad and that is what we are looking into now, the linkages that we are getting for the advancement of researches done in the Philippines,” Fernandez said.

Zamora told Manila Bulletin about 12 research proposals have been submitted to CVCHRD in the first quarter of 2019, nine of which are “full-blown” proposals.

In comparison, only four proposals were submitted last year, he said.

Last January, CVCHRD held the very first Research Application and Utilization Forum (RAUF) in Central Visayas, which presented research, useful inventions or a technology generated from research in the fields of agriculture, fisheries and the blue economy, tourism and information technology.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) here, special focus was given to studies that can be conducted, developed, applied to agriculture and fisheries projects.

Tourism and the information technology were given equal importance because they are economic growth drivers in Central Visayas, NEDA Regional Director Efren Carreon said.

“We need to use infotech and new technology and approaches for agriculture productivity and to adopt to climate change. There is a greater need and focus now for university generated R & D to improve productivity for adequate supply of agriculture and fishery products in the region,” Carreon said. (With reports from Marlauie Estrella & Brandon Ormega, USC Interns)