The University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health (UP NIH) celebrated its 25th anniversary on February 27, 2023 at the UP Professional Schools in BGC, Taguig.
A two-day anniversary conference, “Transforming Philippine Health Systems Toward Universal Healthcare Through Research Partnerships”, was held with Department of Health (DOH) Officer in Charge Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. as keynote speakers.
The occasion also saw the signing of a memorandum of understanding between UP Manila-NIH and the DOH for two projects under the NIH: the creation of the Institute of Health Promotion, and the expansion of the National Practice Guidelines for the healthcare sector. The signatories were Vergeire and UP Manila (UPM) Chancellor Carmencita Padilla.
In her opening message to the conference, Padilla said: “We anticipate that the Universal Health Care Law will generate more demand for quality research and we are here to respond through the DOST and the DOH.”
“UP Manila commits to DOH and DOST in providing our country with a continuous stream of next-generation Filipino scientists, an expanded capacity of rapid skills training, improved infrastructure for basic, clinical, and scale of opportunities translating our researches to tangible products useful to the community,” Padilla added.
Addressing the researchers of the NIH, “more than 300 warm bodies from 15 institutes and centers” plus partners from local and foreign universities and industry, she said: “You have made a dent in the improvement in the lives of our people.”
She described them as a driving force behind many advances in Philippine health care as “exemplified during this pandemic”. This was when, “We really had to turn to science and evidence” for measures to address the new disease in the Philippine setting.
She thanked the University for providing the environment for faculty and researchers to “dream boldly”, leading to products and policies that fulfil their health-for-all goal.
“We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to UP Manila for being a long-standing institutional partner in implementing reforms and priority policies, programs, and activities for the healthcare sector,” Vergeire said, before signing the MOU.
DOH Assistant Secretary Beverly Lorraine Ho and UPM-NIH Executive Director Eva Cutiongco-de la Paz signed the MOU as witnesses.
The anniversary celebration was attended by UP President Angelo Jimenez. “We shall provide to the best of our abilities and resources what the NIH requires. Whether exploring new partnerships or strengthening existing ones, or allocating funds for research, human resources, or infrastructure development, the administration shall do what is humanly and legally possible to address the needs of the NIH,” he said in his message to the NIH.