RITM, through its Surveillance and Response Unit and Virology Department, led the conduct of the Philippine National Influenza Center (PNIC) Stakeholders Meeting on September 09-10, 2019 at the Belmont Hotel, Pasay City.
The workshop gathered all stakeholders of influenza surveillance in the Department of Health (DOH) system with the aim of enhancing and strengthening the existing influenza laboratory surveillance system and affirming their commitment to the global influenza strategy.
In his message delivered by RITM OIC Director, Dr. Celia Carlos, Health Secretary, Dr. Francisco Duque III put emphasis on the reason for the gathering, “Health security threats are at the top of the country’s health concerns. We are strengthening our capacity to prevent, detect and respond to these threats. This meeting is a good venue to continuously come up with ways on how we can achieve this. As you listen to various inputs and perspectives today, I hope you will keep in mind the need of preparedness to ensure health security.”
Hospital directors and laboratory supervisors of sub-national laboratories (SNLs), regional directors, Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) heads and staff, and Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Disease (EREID) program coordinators from all over the country participated in the workshop facilitated by technical staff from the DOH-Epidemiology Bureau and the World Health Organization-West Pacific Regional Office (WHO-WPRO) and the WHO Country Office–also provider of the main funding support for the event. During the break-out sessions, the participants were divided into three groups and were respectively tasked to (1) establish enabling and sustainable environments for Global Health Security and enhance collaboration mechanisms for preparedness and response to Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs); (2) strengthen surveillance systems for Global Health Security, specifically influenza; and (3) improve laboratory detection strategies for future pandemics.
Dr. Mayan Uy-Lumandas, head of the RITM Virology Department called for renewed commitment from all stakeholders in her closing remarks, “Moving forward, I hope that we can continue and even further develop a strong and sustainable partnership and resource mobilization strategy so we could prepare and appropriately respond to threats to public health security such as influenza.”
by Reina Manongsong, Communication and Engagement Office