A two-day Agenda Setting and Writeshop on Climate Change headed by the Climate Change and Disaster-Related Health Research and Development Technical Working Group (TWG) of Regional Health Research and Development Consortium XI (RHRDC XI) in coordination with Ateneo de Davao University- University Research Council (AdDU-URC) was conducted last September 9-10, 2015 at the Media Presentation Room, Xavier Hall, Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU). The activity, which aimed to equip and urge researchers from different fields to conduct researches regarding the effects of climate change to human health, was participated by a total of 33 researchers from different institutions.

Guest speaker Fr. Daniel McNamara, of AdDU’s B.S. Environmental Science Program shared his knowledge regarding the effects of Climate Change to Human Health and elaborated calamities brought by this phenomenon. He also challenged the participants by quoting from Pope Benedict XVI’s book entitled “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation” which says “Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions? Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of 'environmental refugees', people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it - and often their possessions as well - in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement?"  

Mr. Paul Ernest De Leon, OIC-Chief R&D Management Division of DOST-PCHRD and Ms. Keziah Camille Terrado, Science Research Specialist II of DOST-PCHRD also discussed the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) 2011-2016 and the on-going and completed PCHRD funded projects pertaining with climate change.

Participants were also guided on how to develop proposals which are related to climate change and its effect to human health with Dr. Rosalinda Tomas acting as the workshop facilitator. The participants came up with individual or collaborative proposals which were then presented to experts/panelists. Seven concept proposals were presented to the panelists- Mr. Paul Ernest De Leon and Dr. Alvin Concha, SPMC-CERC Chair for their comments and suggestions.

Climate Change and Disaster-Related Health Research and Development TWG urged the participants to improve these proposals to qualify for the regional funding.

Powerpoint Presentations of the guest speakers can be downloaded at http://region11.healthresearch.ph/ Downloads Section. 

The study “Assessment of the Extent of Implementation of Standards and Procedures for Water Safety in the Philippines” by Hydrology for Environment, Life and Policy (HELP) Davao Network funded by the Department of Health through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, gave poor results regarding the implementation of water safety plans which affects the quality of water in the Philippines.

This study was based on the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water (PNSDW) of 2007 which stressed the importance of a quality drinking water to human health. Water Safety Plan (WSP) was introduced to drinking water providers (DWPs) in order to aid them in monitoring the water quality they provide to the consumer. The study focused on assessing the implementation of this water systems and procedures.

The study selected 83 drinking providers from nine regions NCR, CAR, IV-A, V, VI, VII, X, XI and CARAGA) in the country. The proponents sampled, collected and analyzed water samples from the selected Level I, II and III providers, surveyed Level III drinking water providers and conducted focus group discussions and key informant interviews.

According to the results, 92% of the 83 DWPs have not developed WSP, while 95% have not implemented it. Forty-two percent of the 249 collected water samples was positive for fecal contamination with 8% that had 1 of 3 toxic heavy metals (cadmium, lead and arsenic) that exceeded the maximum allowable levels. Furthermore, 32% failed in terms in one or more of the acceptability parameters (color, turbidity, pH, total dissolved solids, iron, manganese and/or chloride). All 42 Level II samples collected from Sorsogon (Region V), Negros Occidental (Region VI), Negros Oriental (Region VII) and Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte (Region XIII) had fecal contamination.

Through this study, the proponents concluded that the level of development and implementation of WSPs among DWPs in the country is still very low. They recommended that a comprehensive program and different partnerships to assist DWPs in complying with PNSDW and WSP is needed.

The study was presented during one of the Oral Poster Session of Global Forum 2015 by Ms. Ludivina Porticos, Regional Health Research and Development Consortium XI-Human Resource and Development Committee (RHRDC XI-HRDC) Chair and University of Immaculate Concepcion Science Research Center Director last August 24-27, 2015 at PICC, Manila.

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