ILOILO CITY -- The end goal of conducting health research should always be to serve the people, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III said here Wednesday.
Chairman De Vera spoke before the consortium of health researchers from Western Visayas during their third biennial conference in this city.
“Health research and innovation should not just be about journal articles or conference presentations and even grant applications. In the end health research should always serve the people, maybe not directly but always intentionally,” he emphasized in his keynote address.
In his message, he made the call for health research to be more multi-disciplinary such that it brings “other fields or other experts to start doing health research and health innovation.”
“Let me emphasize that health research and innovation is not just medicine or any of the allied health services. It is multi-disciplinary involving the natural and social sciences as well,” he said.
He said the research and innovation should not only be for researchers from the academe and research institutions but also of health practitioners.
“They should be highly motivated to participate in research and innovation projects and appreciate employees who offer the best opportunities for such participation,” he added.
However, he pointed out that the secret of coming up with innovative researchers “was a quality higher education system and innovative and responsive health research system that is founded on quality higher education.”
The government’s Free Higher Education program mandated under the Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Quality Tertiary Education Act requires higher education institutions to comply with the quality standards set by the CHED to access funds.
“While the improvement in quality may take time to institutionalize, in the long run, this will hopefully bound to the overall improvement of the quality of higher education institutions, which is crucial to promoting health research and similar researches,” he added.
In a follow up press conference, De Vera said that they are putting in a lot of money on the PCARI (Philippine-California Advanced Research Institutes) Project composed of two major programs with one being health related.
The PCARI is a project between top Philippine universities and the University of California where top researchers from both universities group together to work on common projects, he said.
Right now, they are developing a drug testing kit that can detect 100 designer drugs. The one that is commercially available in the Philippines can only detect six prohibited drugs.
“The technology is already available in the US (United States). We have to customize it to the Philippines,” he said.
The study is expected to be completed in three years.
“The ones who will benefit from this new drug testing kit are the law enforcement authorities of the country who will now have a tool to test and prosecute and stop these activities,” he said.
Also, through PCARI they were able to develop a drone that can do a three-dimensional picture of the building. It is expected to be helpful for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“This will be very useful in the country, disasters for example,” he said. The drone is expected to be tested soon.
For regular funds, though, he cited that CHED and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have been working on common areas as they are committed to ensure that public fund intended for research and innovation is maximized.
“We complement each other; that is the commitment that we have in the Duterte administration,” he said.
Meantime, De Vera also lauded the Western Visayas Health Research and Development Consortium (WVHRDC) that organized the conference. The WVHRDC is now being used as benchmark by other regains to start their own pool of researchers. The consortium has 27 member-institutions
The conference was also supported by the DOST, DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and the Department of Health.
It anchored on the theme "Improved Health Outcomes Through Health Research and Innovations." (PNA)