Health practitioners urged to invest in research for better health outcomes

The Western Visayas Health Research and Development Consortium (WVHRDC) holds its fifth biennial conference, gathering more than a hundred researchers, healthcare professionals, academics, and industry experts from various health and health-related fields on October 11, 2023. (Rjay Zuriaga Castor photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. has urged health practitioners and researchers should continue looking into opportunities to increase the knowledge and understanding of health research to confront emerging diseases.

Solidum, in a pre-recorded message, addressed this to more than a hundred researchers, healthcare professionals, academics, and industry experts from various health and health-related fields during the fifth biennial Western Visayas Health Research and Development Consortium (WVHRDC) on Wednesday.

The conference is bannered by the theme “Our Region, One Health: Research and Development for Better Health Outcomes.”

Solidum emphasized the need for collaboration among health researchers to enhance the availability of health-related data and information

“Our country generally has enjoyed better health over the past 20 years, but certain issues like emerging lifestyle diseases, falling behind on other health-related goals like malnutrition and many others, still indicate an underlying demand to make further improvements,” he added.

He reiterated DOST’s commitment to supporting regional programs that aim to achieve universal healthcare and promote a healthier Filipino population through research-based solutions and innovations.

It can be recalled that in 2018, DOST reaffirmed its support for health research initiatives in educational institutions, including the University of San Agustin (USA) in Iloilo City.

With the agency’s funding, USA now houses three research facilities: the Center for Chemical Biology and Biotechnology, Center for Natural Drug Discovery and Development, and Center for Advanced New Materials, Engineering, and Emerging Technologies.

Jaime Montoya, executive director of DOST Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), highlighted the growing population and limited resources in the Philippines as significant challenges to improving the well-being of its citizens.

“Given this scenario, our health system should strive for change and continuous improvement, and search for innovative solutions to better achieve its health goal,” he added.

Montoya noted that this year’s theme underscores the important role of health research and innovation in improving health outcomes and contributing to overall economic and societal prosperity for our country.

Meanwhile, WVHRDC chair Adriano Suba-an said the consortium underscores the importance of regional collaboration in the pursuit of optimal health for our communities.

He urged participants to act collectively and contribute to research and health development, emphasizing that the conference aimed to encourage partnership and synergy to drive tangible progress in health research

“The WVHRDC over the years has been strengthening the system of research collaboration for Region 6 to improve the capacity of institutions, encourage information sharing and promote the dissemination and utilization of health research outcomes,” Suba-an said.

The WVHRDC chair furthered that the conference is not just a gathering but also “a call to action, a call to forge partnership and synergies that will pave the way for tangible movements in health research.”

As the lead agency in health, Subaan highlighted WVHRDC’s support for the research community’s efforts to enhance the quality of the healthcare system, aligning with the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Act.