Tuesday, July 26, 2016

UPM Chancellor Padilla to receive Global Genes Rare Champion of Hope award

Global Genes, one of the leading rare disease patient advocacy organizations in the world has selected Dr. Carmencita Padilla as one of the 2016 Rare Champions of Hope. Dr. Padilla will receive a “Rare Champion of Hope” recognition under the Medical care and Treatment -International category. 

As published on the Global Genes website, Dr. Carmencita Padilla, the current Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Manila was recognized for her “remarkable contribution to the rare disease community [which] has made her a beacon of hope for many in the Philippines. She is instrumental in creating genetic services at the Philippine General Hospital, which later became the Institute of Human Genetics of the National Institutes of Health-UP Manila. She introduced newborn screening for optimal health in the Philippines and is responsible for the Newborn Screening Act of 2004. Dr. Padilla is also Founding Chairman of the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorder and is again instrumental in the passage of the Rare Disease Act of the Philippines enacted March 2016, after 7 years of deliberating with 3 congresses. Her innovations are influential in providing all aspects of support and awareness about rare disease in the country and beyond." [1] 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

LGU, DOH Region III gear up Nampicuan youth for community health promotion

NAMPICUAN, NUEVA ECIJA – The Local Government Unit (LGU) of the Municipality of Nampicuan through its Municipal Health Officer (MHO), Dr. Ron Allan Quimado in cooperation with The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc) and Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH) – Philippines established a community-based youth organization in a three-day training camp held last June 7-9, 2016.

A total of 16 youth participants joined the K4Health training program sponsored by the Department of Health –Central Luzon Regional Office (DOH Regional Office III), Newborn Screening Center – Central Luzon (NSC-CL), Institute of Human Genetics (IHG) – NIH, UP Manila, and alumni members of GeneSoc. Preparatory training activities for facilitators were also made possible through UPLB Ugnayan ng Pahinungod and VYLH-Philippines.

Barangay Service Point Ofiicers (BSPO), GeneSoc facilitators, and youth volunteers of Nampicuan assemble for a photo opportunity after the special portion of the training program intended for BSPOs (Photo: GeneSoc)

The program title, K4Health (Kabataan for Health), strongly underscores the role of the youth in nation-building and their mobilization towards health promotion. The four “Ks” also mean “Kabataang Kabalikat ng Komunidad para sa Kalusugan” highlighting the need for the youth to effect change in their community.

The training program, which is actually a pioneering joint project of VYLH-Philippines and GeneSoc in establishing a community-based VYLH Chapter, aimed to organize and mobilize the youth of Nampicuan towards birth defects prevention and newborn screening promotion.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Filling the Gaps on Folic Acid Insufficiency:Legislation, Implementation, and Intervention

PRESS RELEASE
NAST-DOST*

The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) gathered stakeholders from the health and nutrition sector, representatives from the legislative body and other concerned government agencies, the academe, the private sector, and the pharmaceutical industry on June 28 at Hotel Jen Manila for a Science Legislative Forum (SLF) on Folic Acid. 


Resource persons, speakers and guests of the SLF on Folic Acid. (Photo: NAST-PHL @NASTPHL)

The objectives of the SLF were to review the global and Philippine burden of neural tube defects; review the burden of folic acid deficiency and insufficiency in the Philippines; review evidence for, impacts of, and safety of increasing folic acid intake; review experiences in increasing folic acid intake globally and in the Philippines; to orient the various stakeholders on the proposed legislations on folic acid supplementation and fortification; and discuss the role of government agencies, the academe, and the private sector.

The participants of the legislative forum were welcomed by Academician (Acd.) Fabian M. Dayrit, acting president of NAST PHL. One of the mandates of NAST PHL is to serve as an adviser to the government and the scientific community on policy formulation. Through the initiatives of Acd. Carmencita D. Padilla, member of the Health Sciences Division (HSD) of NAST PHL and focal person of the SLF on Folic Acid, the Rare Disease Act or the Republic Act No. 10747 was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III. Its stakeholders can be traced from a successful legislative forum that captured cohesive inputs for the advocacy of the said act.

As there no are existing folic acid fortification efforts in the Philippines and supplementation efforts have achieved low coverage, there is a need to put a comprehensive policy in place not only to increase the awareness and knowledge on how folic acid can prevent NTDs but also to improve the maternal health of every Filipino mother and woman of child-bearing age; hence the conduct of a legislative forum for folic acid fortification and supplementation, Acd. Dayrit stressed.

Folate is a B-vitamin that plays a significant role in preventing birth defects particularly of the baby’s brain and spine, which are collectively known as neural tube defects (NTDs). Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that occurs in fortification and supplementation.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

VYLH-Philippines to launch #FolicAcidPH, the first National Social Media Day for Folic acid Awareness

MEDIA RELEASE

This July 18, Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH) – Philippines, a national collaboration of youth leaders of youth organizations in universities and communities in the Philippines, will be launching the first National Social Media day for Folic Acid Awareness, #FolicAcidPH. The social media activity which coincides with the observance of National Nutrition Month and National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week aims to increase public awareness on the folic acid, its sources, and its role in good health and the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs).   

Studies have shown that the intake of folic acid or vitamin B9 through supplementation and food fortification can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) or problems on the development of the baby’s brain and spine. NTDs comprise one of the most common group of serious birth defects and these may result in immediate infant death, deformity or disability. Although there are efforts directed towards increasing awareness, knowledge and consumption of folic acid, the full potential of folic acid to reduce the risk of NTDs has not yet realized in most countries, including the Philippines.

In the Philippines, awareness on the significance of folic acid supplementation among Filipino women in reproductive age is presumed to be low. Furthermore, folate deficiency has been determined to exist. According to the 7th National Nutrition Survey by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute-DOST, 1 in every 5 pinays of childbearing age is folate deficient. Hence, there is a need for increasing public awareness on this matter, especially in the absence of a legislation on folic acid fortification, supplementation and public education.

In order to promote public awareness, #FolicAcidPH will utilize Facebook, Twitter and Thunderclap as its major online platforms. Suggested tweets, status messages and infographics will also be provided by the youth network. Aside from these, interested youth groups, government agencies, and non-government organizations are invited to join the cause and become a partner of the social media campaign.

Aside from the social media campaign, VYLH-Philippines will also be celebrating its 7th Founding Anniversary. It was on the night of July 18, 2009 when its pioneer batch composed of 78 volunteer youth leaders accepted the challenge of promoting folic acid awareness as one of the flagship health advocacies of the network.

For more details about #FolicAcidPH, please visit bit.ly/folicacidph or the official campaign Facebook page (fb.com/folicacidph). 


NAST PHL holds Science Legislative Forum on Folic acid

Resource persons, speakers and guests of the SLF on Folic Acid. (Photo: NAST-PHL @NASTPHL)

MANILA, Philippines – The National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines (NAST-PHL) held a Science Legislative Forum (SLF) on Folic Acid last June 28, 2016 at Hotel Jen Manila. The forum organized by the Health Sciences Division of NAST-PHL was attended by delegates from concerned government agencies, congressional health committees, local and international non-government organizations (NGOs), and the academe. 

Studies have shown that the intake of folic acid or vitamin B9 from supplements and fortified food can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) or problems on the development of the baby’s brain and spine. NTDs comprise the second most common group of serious birth defects and these may result in immediate infant death, deformity or disability. Although there are efforts directed  towards increasing awareness, knowledge and consumption of folic acid, the full potential of folic acid to reduce the risk of NTDs has not yet realized in most countries, including the Philippines.

According to Dr. Carmencita Padilla, activity focal person and NAST Academician, the SLF represents “an important day for women”.  UP Manila Chancellor Padilla also noted that women in the reproductive age needs to take the vitamin not only for good health but also for saving babies from NTDs. In the latter, women planning to get pregnant should take the vitamin at periconception or the period before becoming pregnant and during the early months of pregnancy. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

GeneSoc spearheads three-day Community Youth Training Program in Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija #K4Health

K4 Health Community Youth Training Program completers.
Photo: The UPLB Genetics Society
Compiled by Ryan Pascual (Pioneer)

Standing firm on its commitment to promoting health-related advocacies, The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc) spearheaded the engagement of Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH)-Philippines with the community youth in a pilot project called K4Health Community Youth Training Program last June 7-9 in Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija.

Rooted to the meaning of K4, "Kabataan Kabalikat ng Komunidad para sa Kalusugan,” the said training program led to the organization and establishment of a community-based VYLH core group in the host local government unit under the direct supervision of the Local Government Unit's (LGU) Health Officer.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Generating a New Wave of Youth Leaders

Written by Tricia Carmona (Kabilin)

Welcoming Batch Kabilin. VYLH-Philippines held its first camp in Western Visayas last April 9-10, 2016 with youth participants from Negros Occidental and Panay Island provinces. In photo: the new volunteer youth leaders in  their cultural attire.

Picture this: We are living in a nation where young people can thrive and pursue their passions. They are well-educated and are taking charge of their lives. They empower themselves and the people around them, making them great leaders and parents in the future. 

This is the change our country badly needs right now.