RITM conducts refresher training on Influenza Surveillance
RITM Virology’s Science Research Specialist, Ms. Marie Therese Quimpo, RMT, ASCPi discussing proper specimen collection, packaging, and transport of samples for the Influenza-Like Illnesses Surveillance

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), through its Virology Department and Surveillance response Unit (SRU), conducted a refresher training on the procedures for Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI) Surveillance on May 27, 2022 at the Bellevue Hotel, Alabang. 

Thirty (30) medical and health professionals from various hospitals, health centers, and Regional Epedimiology Surveillance Units within the National Capital Region participated in the refresher course. 

“We had to put many of our training programs temporarily on hold due to the pandemic but we are glad to be finally back on track and have you here with us today. Our experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic also reinforced why there is an urgent need to strengthen our surveillance systems,” says Dr. Amado Tandoc III, Chief of the RITM Laboratory Research Division as he welcomed the participants. 

The ILI Surveillance refresher course is designed to improve the capacities and skills of surveillance officers and health professionals across the country in the case detection, identification, sample collection and transport, and reporting of Influenza-like Illnesses.  

The samples collected through the ILI Surveillance are also forwarded to the World Health Organization and contribute to the global vaccine development efforts and outbreak preparedness. 

In her keynote speech, RITM Director Dr. Celia Carlos called on the participants to revitalize the country’s surveillance efforts,”We are still in the midst of COVID-19 response however, we cannot lose sight of the gains we have achieved for the Influenza surveillance and we should continue to monitor patterns of influenza circulation and be vigilant since the virus also has pandemic potentials.

Dir. Carlos also emphasized the importance of the ILI surveillance, “Virologic and epidemiologic surveillance are essential to detect new influenza virus variants to monitor public health impact and to provide data that will enable timely and appropriate implementation of public health measures.”

RITM technical experts also provided updates on the National Influenza Surveillance and the ways forward. They also lectured on the Biosafety considerations during sample collection. The participants also performed exercises in completing different case investigation forms during the course. 

By Reina Manongsong, Communication and Engagement Office