LEGAZPI CITY, April 14, 2018 -- The Bicol Consortium for Health Research and Development-Capacity Building Committee called for a meeting to prepare for the presentation during the PNHRS-CBC Regional Consultative Meeting Luzon Cluster last April 13, 2018, held at BCHRD Office, Climate Change Academy Building, Bicol University Compound, Legazpi City.

Among the agenda discussed are the following:

1. CBC Consultative Meeting in Clark, Pampanga

2. Strategic Plan and Operational Planning

3. Accomplishments and Best Practices of the consortium It was attended by Dr. Marilou D. Tino, CBC Chair (USANT), and Ms. Lhea Dyn Bellen (DOST), Ms. Quenly M. Galarosa,     BCHRD CBC Staff and BCHRD Director Michael V. Montealegre.

The meeting mostly tackled about the Bicol HeaRT and BIOSHARE as these are the two new programs of the BCHRD. The committee follows the template and guides sent by the PCHRD- CBC preparing the presentation for the event. Considering all the inputs of the committee, the presentation was ready for submission. The meeting ended at 12:00 noon.

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Baguio City --- With the intention to capacitate the health researchers of the consortium’s member institutions in terms of writing a winning project proposal, a Dual – Phase Writeshop Series on Project Proposal Preparation was mounted lately by the Committee on Research Management, Ethics, and Capacity Building.

Project proposals are aligned with the Regional Unified Health Research Agenda (RUHRA) and National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA).

“We are encouraging our health researchers to identify and make their projects relevant and addressed to the needs of the region”, Regional Coordinator Erlinda Palaganas said in her short message during the opening of the training.

The writeshop highlighted hands-on training and the essence of mentoring in the process. The activity aimed to help health researchers refine their research proposals and enhance the overall quality of their work by accessing timely advice and feedback from some of consortium’s top researchers.

As a result, 12 detailed research proposals are continuously being developed by the researchers in consultation with the designated mentors. Post-writeshop assistance will also be facilitated by the mentors for the participants to refine their work. 

The writeshop series was held at the El Cielito Inn, North Drive, Baguio City on April 16-17, 2018 (Phase 1) and at the Sarmiento Hall, UP Baguio on May 10-11, 2018 (Phase 2).

LEGAZPI CITY, May 8 (PIA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) Bicol regional office will conduct an immunization program “Ligtas Tigdas” around Bicol region to prevent and control the spread of measles to residents, especially among children.

“Sa Bicol region, sa Setyembre pa ang plano. Pero mauuna na sa Camarines Sur dahil may mga suspected cases na ng measles or tigdas na naitala (We plan to do the immunization on September this year in Bicol region, yet we will do it earlier for Camarines Sur province in the wake of suspected cases of measles recorded by the health office,” according to Maria June Robles, Immunization Program coordinator of DOH Bicol.

Robles said that the immunization program in Camarines Sur will start within this month of May or early part of June to immediately address the reported cases of measles.

Camarines Sur, according to the official, has recorded some 16 suspected measles cases from January 1 to April 21, 2018.

Increasing number of suspected measles cases are in Goa town, particularly in Bagumbayan Pequeño and Panday, both in Poblacion area.

The target for this immunization program are children aged 6 to 59 months or 5 years old below.

The health officers and staffs will conduct house to house visitations to perform the immunization. Fixed sites can also be provided so that the parents can bring their children for the immunization.

Meanwhile, when asked about the fear of people because of the Dengvaxia case, Robles pointed out that the measles vaccine is one of the safest vaccine and parents should not be worried because this is part of the routine immunization that they have been given to the babies since 1972.

Measles can lead to death if not prevented. Complications like severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia, severe diarrhea and related dehydration, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), ear infections, and blindness can happen and may lead to death.

Unvaccinated infants, young children, and pregnant women as well as any non-immune person are at risk with this infection. Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.

Its signs and symptoms are high fever that lasts for four to seven days. Runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage.

After several days, a red rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for five to six days, and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus.

The virus is spread by coughing and sneezing, and close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions.

There is no specific antiviral treatment that exists for measles virus. That is the reason why routine measles vaccination is needed for the children.

“Prevention is really better than cure,” Robles expressed.


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.


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