Health laboratorians and scientists flock to biggest RITM laboratory conference

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), through its Laboratory Research Division (LRD), conducted its biennial Laboratory Postgraduate Conference on the Diagnosis of Infectious Diseases (LabCon) on March 15-16, 2018 at The Bellevue Hotel Manila.

With the theme “BLAST: Eliminating infectious and tropical diseases with diagnostic, technical and scientific innovations”, the 8th installment focused on the enrichment of laboratory capacity in disease diagnosis through a blast of knowledge on various diagnostic, technical and scientific innovations in order to eliminate infectious and tropical diseases.

LabCon also highlighted stories of struggles and triumphs over these disease threats, and explored the role of laboratories as powerful elements in disease eradication.

“At the end of [the] 2-day conference, if [the delegates] can bring home with [them] at least one new knowledge or idea, such as improved knowledge about a certain disease, new technology or a method to improve the quality of [their] services, then we know that this conference would be a success,” said Dr. Edelwisa Mercado, Overall Chair of the LABCON 2018 Organizing Committee and Head of the RITM Molecular Biology Laboratory in her opening remarks.

The first day of LabCon 2018 consisted of plenaries and breakout sessions featuring the role of laboratories in successful control and elimination of infectious and tropical diseases. Each session looked into factors for improvement to narrow the gaps in laboratory procedures by introducing techniques on detection, identification and elimination of these type of diseases.

The second day provided avenues for consultations and plenaries for sustaining laboratory capacity for quality diagnosis and response to emergency situation; and emphasized the need to raise the standards on laboratory quality assurance and prepare for outbreak response. New technologies for detection of novel pathogens have also been introduced.

Three participants were also selected to do an oral presentation of their own studies. Ms. Jeannie Limayo of Our Lady of Fatima University has been awarded Best Research Oral Presentation on her research, “Larvicidal activity of Bambusa vulgaris (bamboo shoots) against Aedes albopictus larvae.”

In his closing message, Laboratory Research Division Chief Dr. Amado Tandoc said, “Our theme calls on all laboratory practitioners to be involved in the fight against infectious diseases. Whether you are a medical technologist, laboratory scientist, or pathologist, whether you are working in the private or public sector, whether you are at the national, regional, or sub regional level—we are all in this together.”

A total of 339 healthcare professionals and members of academic institutions participated in the postgraduate conference.

by Katherine Vera, Laboratory Research Division Science Research Specialist II