Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gordon underscores need for more health-related R&D

In the wake of fears that the current deadly swine influenza breakout in several countries will take pandemic proportion, Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today underscored the urgency of a stronger research and development (R&D) system in the country.


Gordon, author of Senate Bill 3080 or the Philippine National Health Research System Act, pointed out that there is a real need to strengthen the country's R&D system to prepare against potential danger of viruses that could transfer from animals to humans, such as the swine flu.


"The health research and development system in our country is not that effective. Every time epidemics break out, we cannot take preparations immediately because we have to wait for information from the World Health Organization (WHO)," he said.


"If we have a strong R&D system, we can make our own research and prepare for potential risks ahead of time. This way, we will be able to soften the impact should the virus causing an epidemic manages to enter the country," he added.


WHO recently raised an international alert as the swine influenza virus threatens to take pandemic proportion with more than 100 people reportedly suspected to have died of the disease in Mexico. Swine flu cases were also reported in the US, Canada and some parts of Europe.


Gordon earlier filed SB 3080 which proposes to institutionalize the Philippine National Health Research System (PNRHS) and create the Philippine National Health Research Fund (PNHRF).


The bill aims to produce knowledge through research; develop a national and global network of researchers, research organizations, and other members of the health research community; and to secure sustainable financing for health research and development.


It also aims to ensure public access to the information and other outputs generated by the health research systems; and encourage the utilization of research results in the form of products, technologies, programs and services; among others.


Gordon pointed out that strengthening the country's R&D system will ensure optimum health care for every Filipino and will address the problem of access to health care system, especially among the poor, still being hampered by financial, physical, social and cultural barriers.


"To help achieve the country's vision of universal primary health care services, it is not enough to be contented with the present capacity of the country's health care system," he said.


"The country must provide for a favorable research environment wherein government agencies, non-government agencies, public and private hospitals, academic institutions and private agencies can optimize their research activities," he added. (30)


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