RHRDC promotes health research, COVID-19 initiatives in R&D Expo

Research and development (R&D) in health is an important investment as it motivates innovation, invention, and progress increasing economic growth and productivity. To further push initiatives for R&D and innovation, the Regional Health Research and Development Consortium XI (RHRDC XI), together with the Department of Science and Technology Region XI (DOST XI), conducted the 11th Health R&D Expo on November 15-16, 2021 via Zoom and Facebook platforms.

With the theme “Health R&D Solutions in the fight against Covid-19,” this year’s expo intended to provide a platform to bring altogether the health research community from public and private sectors, as well as showcase, completed health research undertakings of professional and student researchers in the region through oral and poster presentations.

On the second day of the expo, RHRDC XI featured webinars from two DOST-Balik Scientist Awardees, namely Dr. Annabelle P. Villalobos, Johnsons and Johnsons Biopharmaceuticals, USA Consultant, and Dr. Arnulfo C. Rosario, Jr., MD, MPH, CCS, DOST Balik Scientist from United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Houston Health Department in Atlanta, Georgia. In her presentation on “Synthetic Biology: A new perspective in the fight against COVID-19”, Dr. Villalobos talked about the vaccines, anti-viral/repurposed drugs, and the challenges and opportunities in manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines and treatments in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Senior Lecturer in the Medical Informatics Unit of UP Manila College of Medicine and co-founder of two startups, Dr. Rosario, focused on “Informatics: Critical Strategy in Combating COVID-19”. He discussed medical informatics, the intersection of information science, computer science, and healthcare that can be applied in areas of public health and clinical services, eHealth (mHealth/Mobile Health), and Digital Health. Dr. Rosario highlighted the digital health tools developed by both public and private institutions and telemedicine tools that are used for COVID-19 response.

“It’s now a mandate among all institutions from DOH, starting March 2021, to have telemedicine. That’s a new thing for us to adapt, a turnaround from our health ecosystem. Before pipila kangayon ang pilahan ay via appointment, via telemedicine which is better (Before, you will wait in a queue. Now, the queueing is via appointment, via telemedicine which is better). This is a great tool for you to prepare and pre-consult to cut down the cost, the cost of waiting, and the time of being exposed to possible COVID-19”, said Dr. Rosario as he encouraged the public to grasp, study, and make use of the telemedicine tools.

Aside from the initiatives on COVID-19 response, RHRDC XI also recognized the outstanding health research oral presentations and poster exhibits for the undergraduate and graduate categories.

For the complete list of the winners, refer to the list below:

Oral Presentation – Undergraduate Category

1st PlacePerceptions and Lived Experiences of Patient-Consumers and Community Pharmacists on Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising (DTCDA) in Cotabato CitySalma Khairia A. AlangUniversity of the Immaculate Conception
2nd PlaceForecasting Dengue Cases in Davao City Administrative Districts from 2020 to 2025 utilizing Seasonal Autoagressive Integrated Moving Average (SARIMA) ModelGeorge Carr PlazaUniversity of the Immaculate Conception

Oral Presentation – Professional Category

1st PlaceDevelopment and Validation of an HPLC-DAD Method for the Chemical Fingerprinting and Quantification of Agnuside in Vitex negundo Linn. (Lagundi) Leaves and Commercial TabletsMichael CasasPhilippine Science High School Southern Mindanao Campus
2nd PlaceSpatial Variation of Heavy Metals and Pathogenic Enteric Bacterial Isolated in Coastal Surface Waters of Davao City and IGACOS: An Evaluation of its Source, Environmental Impact and Risks to Human HealthVenchie BadongUniversity of the Immaculate Conception
3rd PlaceProlonged Personal Audio Device (PAD) Usage and Subjective Tinnitus Among the First Year Medical Students of DMSFIArabia K. MarianoDavao Medical School Foundation Inc.


1st PlaceA Retrospective Study on the Success Rates of Antiretroviral Therapy and Adherence of Antiretroviral Naive Patients in an HIV Treatment Hub in Davao City, PhilippinesJesille Mae LegartaUniversity of the Immaculate Conception
2nd PlaceEffects of Alternative Medication vs. Standard Care Treatment on the HBA1C Levels of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients: A Systematic ReviewAlyssa Anne LancitaUniversity of the Immaculate Conception
3rd PlacePrevalence of Self-medication among Pharmacy Students in Selected Schools in Davao City: A Cross-Sectional StudyPrinces Jobille C. PolinaUniversity of the Immaculate Conception


1st PlaceDevelopment and Validation of an HPLC-DAD Method for the Chemical Fingerprinting and Quantification of Agnuside in Vitex negundo Linn. (Lagundi) Leaves and Commercial TabletsMichael CasasPhilippine Science High School Southern Mindanao Campus
2nd PlaceWastewater-Based Epidemiology and Whole-Genome Sequencing for Community-Level Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in Selected Urban Communities of Davao City,  Philippines: A Pilot StudyDann Marie N. Del Mundo, Ph.DUniversity of the Philippines Mindanao
3rd PlaceRisk Factors Associated with Severity and Survivability of Covid-19 patients: Empirical Evidence from Davao RegionCharisse MiguelMalayan Colleges of Mindanao

“I believe we can rise above the challenges of the pandemic and continue to create interventions, multisectoral collaborations, and multi-disciplinary actions to address the problem and improve public health outcomes, because after all, health research is the foundation of public health policy”, said DOST XI Regional Director Dr. Anthony C. Sales, CESO III in the opening ceremony.

He also encouraged the presenters and participants that sound and scientific evidence of health researches should not only be presented but should also be used to inform and aid health policy decision-making to further refine the multi-sectoral COVID-19 pandemic response.RHRDC XI is a member consortium of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) mandated to promote and coordinate health research activities in the region through relevant and quality health researches. (PR)