With the support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Philippine One Health University Network (PhilOHUN) in collaboration with Southeast Asia One Health University Network (SEAOHUN) organized the PhilOHUN Global Health Security (GHS) kick-off meeting in Pasay City, Philippines on 28-29 March 2023. The meeting convened One Health stakeholders in the Philippines to identify key capacity development needs and gaps in the short, medium, and long terms, including the role of universities in addressing the gaps. Welcome remarks were given by Dr. Michael L. Tee, PhilOHUN Chairperson; Michelle Lang-Alli, Director of USAID Philippines Office of Health; and Dr. Kenneth G. Ronquillo, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary for Policy and Infrastructure Development.
Dr. Michael L.Tee, Chair of PhilOHUN, University of the Philippines, Manila (UP Manila)
After the welcome remarks, Dr. Tee introduced PhilOHUN and described their key strategies, raising OH awareness and capacity building, before discussing their future and important next steps. Then, Dr. Ernesto Bontuyan, Project Management Specialist of the USAID Philippines, presented on “USAID’s Vision for a Safer World” and highlighted the increasing incidence of emerging antimicrobial resistant pathogens and zoonotic spillover events. USAID’s GHS program is designed to prevent, detect, and respond to these threats as well as address identified gaps and enhance surveillance capacity. Dr. Vipat Kuruchittham, SEAOHUN Executive Director, gave an overview of SEAOHUN, the USAID One Health Workforce – Next Generation Project, and the PhilOHUN GHS Project. Dr. Vipat reinforced the role of universities in producing competent professionals and raising the country's capacity to combat infectious disease threats.
Dr. Ernesto Bontuyan, Project Management Specialist of the USAID Philippines
Dr. Vipat Kuruchittham, SEAOHUN Executive Director
The first day concluded with the presentation by Dr. Alethea R. De Guzman, Director IV of DOH Epidemiology Bureau. She presented findings and recommendations from the 2018 International Health Regulations-Joint External Evaluation (IHR JEE) followed by the DOH planned priority actions. She gave an overview of the IHR and its importance in evaluating a country’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats along with their commitment to transparency and accountability. The 19 capacities evaluated in the 2018 IHR JEE were the foundation for follow on discussions throughout the event.
Dr. Alethea R. De Guzman, Director IV of DOH Epidemiology Bureau
The second day focused on defining key results, critical activities, and resource landscape for IHR HR development, and identifying opportunities. In the morning, participants were divided in to five groups. Each group discussed one of the five expectations for IHR Human Resources (HR) development: 1) strengthening IHR HR governance, 2) developing the IHR HR master plan, 3) making OH courses available, 4) revising and rolling out FETP modules, and 5) designing comprehensive IHR/GHS courses for the short, medium, and long terms. In the afternoon, a representative from each group presented their proposed activities, expected output, timeline, and required resources regarding their expectation for open discussion. To wrap up the kick-off meeting all participants brainstormed opportunities for PhilOHUN universities to contribute to the discussed expectations. In closing, Dr. Neil Tanquilut, Vice Chairperson and Coordinator of PhilOHUN provided motivational remarks and expressed his appreciation for everyone’s efforts.
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