Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Six-Day DOST-NEWTON AGHAM Researchers Link Workshop in One Health Omics
The University of the Philippines Mindanao collaborated with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, in conducting a week-long free online bioinformatics workshop, otherwise known as the One Health Omics Project, from October 11 to 16, 2021.
The One Health Omics workshop capacitated Filipino researchers in Mindanao on omics technology, tools and techniques in the surveillance, management, and control of infections in a One Health setting. This was attended by 40 selected faculty members, clinicians, and researchers from different regions in Mindanao. The project can help them in their research work in the region. Due to restrictions during the COVID-19 surge, the workshop was done via Zoom.
The One Health Omics Project was funded by the DOST-Newton Agham Researcher Links Workshop grant from the British Council in partnership with LSHTM and supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)–Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD). The workshop is also co-sponsored by the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Mindanao.
Workshop facilitators included bioinformatics experts from LSHTM: Dr. Taane Clark, Professor of Genomics and Global Health; Dr. Jody Phelan; Julian Libiseller-Egger; Daniel Ward; Anton Spadar; and, Paula Josefina Gómez González.
Workshop participants included: researchers from the PGC Mindanao; faculty of San Pedro College Davao; doctors from the Department of Health (DOH) XI; and, researchers from UP Mindanao.
Bioinformatics is a new field in health research. With the use of computers, it allows researchers to further examine and understand the characteristics of an organism or a microbe through its genome, such as a virus like the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the COVID-19 disease. For instance, bioinformatics allowed scientists to quickly develop diagnostic test kits and vaccines for COVID-19
“Bioinformatics and genomics techniques, as well as conducting related molecular investigations, are important skills for the participants to become genomics and genomic epidemiological experts and will contribute to improving the health of the Philippines population,” Prof. Taane said.
Social Innovation for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
The University of the Philippines Manila, as Philippine hub of the Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI), conducted its Social Innovation for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights project from 2020 to 2022.
The Social Innovation for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) project, jointly conducted by the UP Manila School of Health Sciences and Maastricht University School of Health Professions Education (SHE), strengthened the capacity of UP Manila as Social Innovation in Health Initiative Philippine Hub and representatives of partner institutions. The project helped them to be trainers to frontline health professionals and facilitated their design of innovative, multi-stakeholder-driven, community-based interventions in response to SRHR problems.
Dr. Meredith Del Pilar-Labarda of the Department of Medicine at the UP Manila School of Health Sciences served as the leader for the Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI) Philippine Hub, together with Jana Mier-Alpano and Abigail Mier.
According to Dr. Del Pilar-Labarda, this particular project trained the trainers for faculty, medical students, health officers of local government units, and leaders of communities such as the Sangguniang Kabataan. They can help co-create a comprehensive sexual education and gender issues program that would help adolescents in their communities. Another output would be the publication of a manual for trainers.
This was the first face-to-face workshop since 2020 when the first series of trainings were done online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants availed of: an introduction to gender and sex; a workshop on intervention mapping; a short workshop on social media; and, a workshop on gender issues and comprehensive sexuality education. In the context of the “new normal”, the participants from different communities and sectors shared many of their challenges and innovations, including lessons from SRHR programs done in other countries.
Among the goals of the project were: to reduce the high rates of teenage pregnancy and the spread of HIV; to prevent gender-based violence; and, to help the young generation to become happy and healthy adults. The final training, which aimed to integrate all knowledge and skills from previous workshops, was scheduled for Oct. 10-14, 2022.
Launched in 2014, SIHI is a global network of individuals, organizations and institutions advocating social innovation in health and advancing research in social innovation.
UP GOE Medical Mission 2022 in Brgy. Tagumpay, Bay, Laguna
The University of the Philippines’ Grand Order of the Eagles (UPGOE) Fraternity, a duly recognized socio-civic organization in UP Los Banos, held a medical mission in Barangay Tagumpay, Bay, Laguna on June 26, 2022. The health outreach mission was done in cooperation with a medical team from the Southern Asia-Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and was supported by UPGOE alumni and partner organizations.
Medical services for a total of 644 patients included: 167 general check-ups; 158 ophthalmologic services; 150 dental services; 117 blood chemistry tests; 47 circumcisions (tuli); and, five minor surgeries. Patients-beneficiaries in the community also received a total of Php40,000 worth of medicines.
Co-sponsors of the health outreach included: Gardenia Philippines, a food company that provided Gardenia products to all volunteers and patients; the Bay local government and Art Relief Mobile Kitchen that provided the lunch of volunteer medical workers; Ms. Mayette Estacion who provided shirts to volunteers; and, the family of UPGOE member, Brod Marvin Raymundo.
UP’s Financial Aid for Students’ Mental Health Expense
The University of the Philippine Los Baños, as with the other UP constituent universities, champions mental well-being by providing Php7,500 cash aid per semester to eligible UP students to support their mental health-related expenses.
This is made possible through the UP Student Wellness Subsidy Program (UP SWSP) contained in Memorandum RAG 2022-13 issued by the Office of Student Development Services (UP OSDS) on June 7, 2022. The grant aims not only to reduce the cost of prescribed medication and other mental health services but also to encourage students to seek professional help.
Apart from the lack of student spaces for conducive learning environments, inadequate manpower to address mental health issues, and financial challenges of students, there is still stigma in seeking professional help. The UP SWSP strives to address that.
The wellness subsidy program is implemented by the UPLB Office of Counseling and Guidance (OCG) and the Office of Scholarships and Grants (OSG). Currently enrolled and financially challenged UPLB students with mental health concerns are eligible for the grant.
The University has been strengthening its mental health programs, especially since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students may check out the various initiatives of the OCG, from support training programs to emotional pet support to art-based and other intervention therapies.
Faculty and students are also encouraged to refer or reach out to the OCG through their landline at (049) 536-7255, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through their Facebook page, “UPLB Office of Counseling and Guidance.”
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