LEGAZPI CITY, May 15 (PIA) -- As the cases of Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection in the region rises, the Department of Health (DOH) Bicol regional office has urged high risk population to avail of free testing.

The DOH Epidemiology Bureau recorded 226 cases in 2017 which showed a spike from the 123 cases in 2016.

“The increasing trend of the HIV cases in Bicol is alarming but what we see now is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Napoleon L. Arevalo, officer in charge of DOH Bicol.

Arevalo advised persons with risky behaviors to seek free HIV testing provided by ten social hygiene clinics in the region to know their status and begin medical intervention.

“The DOH provides free and confidential HIV testing and counseling. Once a person is HIV positive we refer him or her to the treatment hubs in Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City and Bicol Medical Center in Naga City. The antiretroviral (ARV) drugs given there are free,” he added.

In the region, Camarines Sur remains the highest with 80 cases in 2017 followed by Albay – 71, Sorsogon – 31, Masbate – 22, Camarines Norte – 16 and Catanduanes – 6. Cumulatively from 1984 to 2017, there are 724 HIV cases in the region.

At a national scale, a total of 50,725 cases were recorded from January 1984 to December 2017.

“HIV is a grave threat in the Philippines for there are now 32 new cases detected every day in the country. With this, the Bicol region only contributes two percent in the national data,” Lilian Rose Contessa Encisa, DOH HIV-AIDS program coordinator said.

Encisa stated that the DOH continues its information and education campaign on the prevention of HIV in the region.

“The key to prevent HIV is ABCDE which stands for abstinence, be mutually faithful with you partner, consistent and correct use of condoms, don’t use drugs and early detection and education,” she added.

The ten HIV testing sites in Bicol includes city health offices (CHO) of Tabaco and Legazpi and rural health units (RHU) of Daraga and Manito in Albay, Naga CHO in Camarines Sur, Daet RHU III in Camarines Norte, Sorsogon CHO in Sorsogon, Virac RHU in Catanduanes and Masbate CHO and San Jacinto RHU in Masbate. Said testing is free of charge and confidential.

(MAL/DDC-PIA5)


LEGAZPI CITY, May 3, 2018 -- The Bicol Consortium for Health Research and Development – Research Ethics Committee (BCHRD-REC) conducted a meeting last May 3, 2018 held at Research Office Conference Room, Universidad de Sta. Isabel, Naga City, Camarines Sur.

The meeting aims to discuss the following agenda:

1. Strategic and Operations Plan of the REC for 2018-2022;
2. Updates in accreditation;
3. Schedule of REC Trainings;
4. Addition member in the REC Structure and Composition;
5. Identification of Alternate Members;
6. Creation of the REC Subcommittee; and
7. Replacement of Prof. Revale after her retirement.

The meeting was presided by Dr. Sandy C. Lasa and it was attended by five (5) REC members including the Vice Chair, Members and with the presence of one lay person. (Kevin B. Capoles/BCHRD)


The REMB XI, with the collaborative efforts of the Regional Health Research and Development (RHRDC) XI and the 5 SUCs namely Compostela Valley State College (CVSC), Davao del Norte State College (DNSC), Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology (DOSCST), Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST) and the University of the Southeastern Philippines (USEP) , facilitated a Basic Research Ethics Training last April 25 to 26, 2018 at the Apo View Hotel, Davao City.

Dr. Warlito C. Vicente, the Chairperson of the RHRDC XI, welcomed the participants by challenging them to develop researchers with both scientific and ethical soundness. Dr. Ricardo M. Manalastas, Jr. and Dr. Milagros M. Viacrucis were the resource speakers for the training which was composed of various lecture sessions and workshops. The primary objective of the training is for RECs to establish and maintain independence and competence following the international and national guidelines. This training is also one of the basic requirements for the institution in their pursuit to apply for PHREB accreditation.

The REMB XI, the regional arm of the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB), aims to assist institutions in the implementation of policies and development of quality assurance in the review of RECs in Davao Region and its neighboring regions.

By: Mabel Diana M. Calipes

The Central Visayas Consortium for Health Research and Development (CVCHRD) in collaboration with the Cebu Normal University celebrated its 3rd Annual Central Visayas Health Research and Innovation Conference with the theme Research and Innovation: Linking Theory and Practice on May 06 – 09, 2018 at Cebu Normal University.  To kick off this event, an Amazing Race was held on May 06, 2018 at Cebu Normal University.
This is being participated by member institutions of the CVCHRD.  Joining the activity are 5 groups from the respective member institutions, namely: Southwestern University – PHINMA, Velez College, Cebu Doctor’s University, St. Paul University – Dumaguete, Cebu Institute of Technology University and Cebu Normal University.  The event started at 01:00 PM and ended at around 05:00PM.  This was a fun-filled activity, packed with 10 detour stations with challenging tasks, and mind boggling research and health-related questions.

This activity is a game which entails a sharp mind, s strong body, and a dedicated heart.  In each station, the teams are to perform a certain task, and after successfully doing it, a question will be given for the group to ponder on and to answer.  If a correct answer is given, an envelope with the clue to the next station will be given.

Of the 5 participating teams, the Engineering students of Cebu Institute of Technology University (CIT-U) arrived 1st, followed by the joint team of Cebu Normal University (CNU) and Saint Paul University Dumaguete (SPUD), and ranking third to arrive is Velez College.  The event ended with smiles on everyone’s faces and new friendships created among the participants.  Announcement and awarding of the three winning groups of the Amazing Race will be done during the closing ceremony on May 09, 2018.


Legazpi City --- April 21, 2018. Bicol Consortium for Health Research and Development (BCHRD) RICUC Committee meeting held its 2nd Quarter Meeting on April 20, 2018.

The meeting was participated by the RICUC Chair - Maria Teresa De Alban, Vice Chair - Pilita Lunena and introducing the new member of the committee, Ms. Lorraine Estadilla.

The meeting started on revisiting the strat plan and operations plan and its status and its achievement as of date for the RICUC team. After revisiting and planning the activities of the strat plan, the chair presented the new contest guidelines of the PCHRD which was launched during the PCHRD Anniversary. The primary purpose of the contest is to have an impact on health research by providing credible and invaluable website contents to general public and the scientific community.

The committee also discussed the changes in the website and things needed to be done. Some of the strategies of the consortium is to require every member institution to submit health research undertakings and translate completed research into informative info for dissemination or visual abstract. It was also noted during the meeting the formulation of Bicol Health Research Communicators which will help on producing news articles, video presentation, and other audio visual presentation.

The meeting ended with determination and hoping that the BCHRD will win the contest.

MMHRDC 2nd International Symposium
"Food Fortification in Universal Healthcare"

When: May 24-25, 2018
Where: Pan Pacific Hotel, M. Adriatico cor. Malvar St., Malate, Manila, Philippines

General Objective:
To highlight collaborative partnerships in health researches.

Specific Objectives:
To showcase research work on food fortification in Universal healthcare.
To provide a venue for international exchange of ideas and research findings.
To provide a safe and encouraging venue for young researchers to be exposed to high quality research and science.

The Symposium will feature speakers from Malaysia, Thailand and USA, as well as many of our local experts who are known internationally.

A Research Competition will also be held. There will also be a photo contest which should follow the theme of the Symposium. For the mechanics and the registration forms, please message This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Review suggests coffee and tea drinkers might have a lower risk of developing cardiac arrhythmias. Drinking coffee and tea every day may actually benefit people with heart troubles. New research has linked caffeine consumption from the two popular drinks to decreased rates of arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms.

But the researchers warn against the consumption of energy drinks that contain high levels of caffeine for anyone with a pre-existing heart condition.

Arrhythmias cause the heart to beat too fast, slow or unevenly. Many clinicians advise patients with atrial or ventricular arrhythmias to avoid caffeinated beverages.

“There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems,” said Dr. Peter Kistler, director of electrophysiology at Alfred hospital and Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. “Our extensive review of the medical literature suggests this is not the case.”

Researchers reviewed 11 major international studies involving 360,000 people and found caffeine had no effect on ventricular arrhythmias.

The analysis suggests caffeine intake of up to 300 milligrams a day may be safe for patients with arrhythmias. This equates to roughly three cups of coffee.

But there may be individual differences in susceptibility to the effects of caffeine on the factors which trigger arrhythmias in some, the researchers noted.

“Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea may have long-term anti-arrhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine,” Kistler said. “In numerous population-based studies, patients who regularly consume coffee and tea at moderate levels have a lower lifetime risk of developing heart rhythm problems and possibly improved survival.”

The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Original article © The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/apr/17/caffeine-might-help-people-with-heart-troubles-research-says)