The Global Fund, through the Task Force for Global Health (TFGH), visited the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on February 15, 2023.
The TFGH Team, led by TFGH Senior Advisor Dr. Anthony Mounts, and TFGH Consultant for Asia and the Philippines Dr. Meng-Yu Chen, met with officials from the RITM Virology Department, OIC-Head Mr. Rex Centeno and Science Research Specialist Ms. Jonjee Morin. The team was also joined by Surveillance and Response Unit OIC-Head Ms. June Carandang and Molecular Biology Laboratory Head Dr. Timothy John Dizon.
RITM OIC Director IV Atty/Dr. Ana Liza H. Duran welcomed the team as they discussed the sentinel surveillance for influenza-like illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory infections (SARI) that the Institute conducts in the country, through the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Influenza and other Respiratory Viruses. The RITM team also presented how the Institute prepared and responded to past and present emerging outbreaks and pandemics on Influenza (e.g. Avian, Pandemic H1N1), and Coronaviruses (e.g. SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2).
In 1998, RITM was designated as the NRL for Influenza. Fast forward to 2014, through Administrative Order No. 023 s.2014, RITM was designated as the Philippine National Influenza Center (PNIC). The PNIC serves as the key point of contact with the Department of Health (DOH), Epidemiology Bureau (EB), and the World Health Organization (WHO) in all concerns and questions relating to influenza virological surveillance.
The TFGH is expected to visit other offices and bureaus of the DOH to learn more about the country’s surveillance and response systems; and to provide technical support and hands-on mentoring at improving national and subnational capacity to detect, report, and respond to emerging surges and outbreaks of COVID-19 and other respiratory pathogens.
by Ma. Patricia M. Lansang