The National Institutes of Health (NIH) – University of the Philippines Manila, in celebration of its 20th anniversary, organized a scientific conference focusing on the importance of work, health, and well-being of the Filipino people. Attended by about 400 participants from colleges and universities, government and non-government organizations, and corporations, the conference was held on March 14 at the Bayanihan Center, UNILAB, Pasig City.
Plenary sessions highlighted the role of government and non-government organizations in promoting a healthy workforce, and featured discussions and presentations on occupational health and safety, gender and health research, active aging, treatment of infectious diseases, and other topics.
In his message, UP President Danilo L. Concepcion praised the personnel and the accomplishments of the NIH. He said, “The research, technology innovations, and advocacy work that NIH’s dedicated faculty members and researchers have done have led to great improvements on the health of Filipinos, from the level of the communities to the highest levels of national policy. Laws were enacted by Congress to implement the research outputs of the NIH, such as the Newborn Screening Act and the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Act.”
Concepcion said the NIH has lived up to its mandate and enjoys the full support of the University. “I see the NIH as an essential partner in our administration’s strategic plan, as a national institution that bridges knowledge creation to improve health, R&D, and public service through advocacy, community work, extension services, and influencing policy making, all towards the goal of improving our people’s general welfare,” he said.
Concepcion also challenged the NIH to “come up with a breakthrough in the field of medicine that will merit a nomination to the Nobel Prize.”
Secretary Francisco T. Duque III of the Department of Health (DOH); Senator Risa Hontiveros; Chancellor Carmencita D. Padilla of UP Manila; Executive Director Jaime C. Montoya of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD); Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); and Khalid Hassan, Country Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO), also delivered congratulatory messages for the NIH anniversary-conference.
Dr. Joseph Lachica of the Office of Sen. Hontiveros, DOLE Undersecretary Jacinto Paras, DOH Sec. Duque, and Katherine Brimon of the ILO’s Safe Youth at Work Project each presented their organization’s role in promoting a healthy workforce in the Philippines.
The afternoon sessions featured plenary discussions by experts on the following topics: chronobiology, health, and productivity of shiftworkers by Prof. Gayline F. Manalang Jr., College of Public Health, UP Manila; devastating work-related injuries by Dr. Emmanuel M. Estrella, Institute of Clinical Epidemiology, NIH, UP Manila; occupational diseases by Dr. Vivienne F. Fadrilan-Camacho, College of Public Health, UP Manila; occupational health safety programs by Dr. Maria Beatriz G. Villanueva, Health Control Division, DOLE; gender equality by Dr. Sylvia Estrada-Claudio, UP Center for Women’s Studies, UP Diliman; gender, health, and research by Dr. Anthony GH. Cordero, Community Health and Development Program, UP Manila; gender differences in tuberculosis by Dr. Marissa M. Alejandria, Institute of Clinical Epidemiology, NIH, UP Manila; HIV in the workplace by Dr. Edsel Maurice T. Salvaña, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, NIH, UP Manila; eye health in the workplace by Dr. Leo DP. Cubillan, Philippine Eye Research Institute, NIH, UP Manila; wellness in the workplace by Dr. Aster Lynn D. Sur, Institute of Human Genetics, NIH, UP Manila; and, active aging and the workforce by Dr. Shelley Ann F. de la Vega, Institute on Aging, NIH, UP Manila.
The NIH was created by the UP Board of Regents on January 26, 1996. With the signing into law of the “Health Research and Development Act of 1998”, it was established by the Philippine Government as a national health research center on February 13, 1998. (Fred Dabu, UP MPRO)
To view more photos of the event, click here.