Misdiagnosis of parasitic infections remains a challenge in the Philippines, particularly in remote areas where medical technologists (MTs) may lack capacity on diagnostic parasitology. This is further complicated by the lack of a formal referral system where MTs can verify their diagnosis. Misdiagnosis results to non-treatment of patients, thereby contributing to continuing morbidity and infection transmission. Accurate and timely diagnosis of parasitic infections is essential to provide appropriate treatment, as well as to generate accurate data to support advocacy and policy formulation for the control and prevention of parasitic infections.

To address this challenge, a team from the College of Public Health and the National Telehealth Center in the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila, led by Dr. Vicente Belizario, Jr., developed and tested the Medical Teleparasitology (MTP) system through the grant provided by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development.

MTP uses information and communications technology (ICT) to provide a referral mechanism that links MTs in peripheral laboratories to a pool of expert diagnostic parasitologists. Through the MTP, the MTs registered in the system can send the digital image of the parasite and their initial diagnosis which are then verified by expert diagnostic parasitologists within 24 hours. Digital images of the parasites are stored in the image bank which can be accessed by MTs for future reference. MTs in the peripheral laboratories also send monthly reports of parasitic infections they have diagnosed.

Monthly reports are fed into a database which can generate the distribution of parasitic infections reported and of the laboratory and personnel capacity. These, in turn, may help inform strategies for prevention and control of parasitic infections. Enrolled users also have access to the Parasitology Forum, an online forum where users can discuss topics relevant to parasitology. Through these, MTP is able to support MTs in their critical role of providing accurate and timely diagnosis of parasitic infections.

The MTP system is currently implemented in Cordillera, Zamboanga, and Davao Regions. These were made possible through the support of the Department of Health-Regional Offices and other partners, such as the Saint Louis University-School of Medicine.

If you wish to know more about the MTP system, please visit the MTP site at https://mtp.telehealth.ph/site/ or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig


With the goal of increasing awareness of the Research Utilization Committee (RUC) members from the region on barriers and opportunities in translating research into policy and strategies to affect change on current policy environment of the regional consortia members, three health research champions were invited to share their experiences on influencing health policy through research. Attended by 75 RUC members, policy influencers and communication practitioners, the preconference session was held as part of the 12th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week in Baguio City on 7 August 2018. 

In the morning session, three notable speakers and Alberto G. Romualdez, Jr. Health Research Award (AROHRA) winners namely, Dr. Ronald Matias (St.Luke’s Medical Center), Dr. Carmencita Padilla (UP Manila) and Dr. Mario V. Capanzana (DOST-FNRI) shared their journey of translating their research into policy.

Dr. Ronald Matias, Senior Scientist, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City, discussed the St. Luke’s Dengue Research Program on dengue surveillance, assessment and emerging technologies. As there are already existing policies by the WHO and DOH, implementation of dengue prevention and control should be accompanied by timely and innovative researches which are integrated into policy. With the goal of reducing the incidence of the disease, Dr. Matias emphasizes that research and development efforts must be converted into public health solutions.

Dr. Carmencita Padilla, Chancellor, University of the Philippines, Manila (UPM) highlighted the history of the National Newborn Screening Program from being a UPM and DOST-funded research project in 1996 to being the Newborn Screening Law (R.A. 9288) in 2004 as it went through the arduous process of policy-making. Dr. Padilla shared some strategies that can influence public policy which included: a) working with a collaborative, multi-disciplinary and persistent study group, b) having a range of effective communication strategies that must reach the public, the professionals and the policymakers, c) generating data and developing it into peer-reviewed publications to be used as basis for policy, d) engaging stakeholders and building public-private partnerships to create a multi-environment for easier adaptation, and e) identifying champions for policy development who will sponsor or lobby the advocacy.

Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) talked about undernutrition and its consequences not only at the individual but also at the national level. According to Dr. Capanzana, malnutrition, in its many forms, causes the country to lose around 1.5% of its GDP and also increase health costs. Research conducted by the FNRI has prompted the creation of the policy on Food Fortification as a way to mitigate micronutrient deficiency, a facet of malnutrition. Refinement of food fortification technology and studies on the efficacy of Iron-fortified Rice had been instrumental in technology transfer and commercialization of Iron-Fortified Rice as a Scaling-up strategy to also achieve food security.

In the afternoon session, a workshop was held for the participating members of the Regional Consortia for Health Research and Development. Each region was tasked to present a Research to Policy Plan involving one current or prospective research project using a template derived from the discussions in the morning session 



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Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig
Created: 03 September 2018


For communication collaterals to be effective, there are important principles one has to follow. Ms. Monika Ortega of Inventive Media, a top web developer and digital marketing strategist, shared five important lessons during the 12th Philippine National Health Research System Week Preconference session on 6 August 2018 in Baguio City.

1. Know who you are. In any communication strategy, you have to determine your institution’s brand DNA. The kind of tone, purpose, and language in your marketing collaterals should be consistent with the brand of your institution. Embed the brand such as logo or color of your institution in your collaterals. There should be consistency in your materials across all dissemination platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and website.

2. Know what you want. Before designing the material answer first the question, “What do you want your audience do after reading the information?” Remember, a human’s attention span is too short, only eight seconds. In a digital environment wherein the audience is bombarded with too much information given this limited time, your design must stand out to capture their attention. Message should be focused and clear to make the first impression lead to your desired action.

3. Understand your users. The more you know about the needs and concerns of your audience, the more you are guided with the kind of message you will convey in your materials. Always put yourself in the shoes of your audience. You can engage more people into your campaign when they can relate to you.

4. Understand your platform. Different platform requires different content. Social media platform requires different specifications for video, visual materials, among others. They also have different analytics to measure reach, engagement, or audience involvement. Accessibility of these social media platform on different device should always be kept in mind. Moreover, not all content should be shared in all your social media platform as each has its own kind of audience.

5. Design is everyone’s job. Not everyone is a designer but everyone should embrace design thinking. This means, as the user of the collaterals we can improve the quality of materials we will produce. We can always pre-test the collaterals and make refinements.



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Written by Ciaren H. Itulid
Created: 31 August 2018