RITM, stakeholders talk malaria, NTDs in research forum
In photo: Participants brainstorm on potential topics for intervention research on parasitic diseases.

RITM researchers and collaborators discussed malaria and other parasitic neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) at a research stakeholders’ forum last November 27-29, 2019 at The A. Venue Hotel in Makati City.

The forum discussed progress on the 2016 NTD research agenda and identified gaps and priorities for an integrated research program to accelerate control and elimination of NTDs and malaria through a consensus-building process. Parasitic NTDs discussed include soil-transmitted helminths (STH), schistosomiasis, and filariasis.

“We want to make sure that the work we do is relevant to you because there is a tendency [for research] to be distanced from what really goes on in the ground, we want to get as close as possible to what really occurs,” says RITM Department of Parasitology Head Dr. Fe Esperanza Espino.

The event also sought to strengthen and consolidate RITM’s partnership with local and national disease program implementors and academic and international research groups.

Provincial Health Office of Palawan representative Dr. Mary Anne Navarro expressed her appreciation of the help that RITM has provided, especially in research. “If we work together, I think we can eliminate malaria by 2025. Development is also necessary and the province is currently developing at a fast pace,” she noted.

The forum was attended by representatives from the Asian Foundation for Tropical Medicine Inc. (AFTMI); Health GeoLab; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM); Malaria Consortium; Nagasaki University; Palawan State University (PSU); Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD); Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI); Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International; University of the Philippines campuses in Diliman, Los Baños, and Manila; and the World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines.

Representatives from the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of Occidental Mindoro; Provincial Health Offices of Palawan, Masbate, Sorsogon, Bataan, and Leyte; Municipal Health Offices of Rizal, Brooke’s Point, and Bataraza in Palawan and Abra De Ilog in Occidental Mindoro; Center for Health Development of Regions 2, 4B, 5, and 8; and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples – Palawan also attended the three-day event.

by Eunice Brito, Project Matyag, Research Assistant