Health Research Priorities for WM Region Tackled by Consultatative Forum
October 20, 2005

How to improve the people’s health throgh better service programs and structures was the main objective of the Regional Consultative Forum on Health Research hosted by Western Mindanao State University’s Research, Extension and Development (WMSU-RED) Department last October 14.

WMSU-RED vice- President Dr. Grace Rebollos said the consultation is part os an ongiong process to formulate a national health research agenda for implementation in the year 2005-2010. The research agenda, being put together nationwide by the different regions, is encvisioned to actualize the improvement of health policies and standards and regulatory activities, promote health technology and product development, and undertake quality health education, Dr. Rebollos said.

Some 30 representatives of various Government agencies and non-government organizations involves in health servicesin the city and region attended the day-long workshopheld at the WMSU guidance center conference room.

“Research is an integral part of findings new ways to improve the health of the community and to promote disease prevention”, Dr. Rosemarie Arciaga explained to the participants. Dr. Arciaga, head of the Pedriatics Research Center for Mindanao at the Zamboanga City Medical Center, was the chief resource person of the meeting.

“With limited fundings for research, it is necessary to prioritize our researches in order to achieve a better impact on our community”, Dr. Arciaga said further. Citing as an example, she said creation 10 years ago of the Pedriatic Research Center for Mindanao resulted in a “remarkable shift of interest toward the exciting and impassioned world of health reserch”. along with Ateneo de Zamboanga University School of Medicine, “we have Completed 50 clinical trials and community-based reserches mostly in the fields of pedriatics and maternal and child health” as well as pursuing current ones”main focus (is) community- basedinterventions, public health and of course, medical education.”

The workshop was divided into four major areasof heath concerns, namely public health issues; degenerative disease; healthy lifestyle; and, family health of special populations. On public health issues with concerns like diseases such as TB, malaria, dengue, rabies, and many others, the participants rated as high priority the cunduct of researches on the level of social behavior factors rather than on medical causes alone. The group on degenertive disease like cardiovascular, pulmunary and diabetic conditions batted, ,among others, for a multi-disciplinary approach research framework since lifestyle practices is a major aspect of this type of diseases.

Healthy lifestyle concerns also necessitate researchs on policies and actions programs to overcome problems related to nutrition, mental health , substance abuse, occupational and disaster management, tthe workshop also recommended. It also discussed the “Lackof political support, budgets, manpower and facilities” from government as problems that have stunted health care delivery services in the city and region. Among the researches to resolve the problem are ones focused on advocacy, action and policy.

Among those who attended the form was Ateneo medical school dean Dr. Fortunato Cristobal, who had said policy formulated is one of the major gaps in the region’s health delivey system.

Dr. Rebollos said the workshop outputs will be utilized in the next zonal level round of consultations to be held in Davao City on November 8. (Rey-Luis Banagudos/PAO-WMSU)