GeneSoc holds first Folic Acid Awareness Week

Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH)-Philippines is a network of youth leaders from different youth organizations based in universities and communities throughout the country. The network was formally organized on July 2009 through collaborative efforts of the IHG-NIH, UP Manila, the Department of Health (DOH) and The UPLB Genetics Society.

Three years after the formation of VYLH-Philippines, The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc) continues to show support to the network through its participation in national activities, and incorporation of the network's advocacies: folic acid awareness campaign, newborn screening p promotion, and orphan disorders support, in various activities of the organization. The newest addition to the line-up of activities of the organization to promote VYLH-Philippines and its advocacies is the celebration of the Folic Acid Awareness Week held on 13-16 August, 2012 with the theme, Folic Acid: A Vitamin for Life. The celebration includes a week-long exhibit and series of activities that highlights the importance of folic acid in maternal and child health. 

A Week-long Celebration

The first day of the celebration was marked by a symposium on the importance of folic acid in the prevention of birth defects delivered by Ms. Marian Teresa Cuenca, RN from the Institute of Human Genetics, National Institutes of Health (IHG-NIH), UP Manila and secretariat of the VYLH-Philippines NSCR-South Luzon Cluster. The folic acid awareness assessment test was also done before and after the symposium to assess the impact of the talk to the participants.

Also, GENEWS, the official newsletter of the organization, released its comeback issue on the second day of the exhibit. It featured the different activities of the organization which include the latest edition of the Genetics Camp (January 2012) that highlighted the different advocacies of VYLH-Philippines. The event coincided with the opening of the exhibit. 

The organization allotted the third day of the exhibit for the distribution of VYLH-Philippines pamphlets and materials. Members distributed brochures and informational materials about the importance of folic acid, and wore orange ribbons together with a sticker printed with the tag line "I say YES to folic acid." Also the organization took the chance to accommodate questions from people interested about VYLH-Philippines advocacies and campaigns.

Leading the trail since 2008

In 2008, GeneSoc was handpicked by Dr. Carmencita Padilla - then director of IHG-NIH, UP Manila, to be the pioneering student organization to be involved in the conceptualization of an advocacy awareness program regarding folic acid supplementation and its importance in the prevention of birth defects. Since then, the organization has been involved in conducting activities that promote the recruitment of youth leaders particularly from UP Los Banos, and the  preparation of advocacy informational and educational materials. As part of the network's goal to mobilize the youth in promoting its advocacies, the First  National Youth Camp which institutionalized VYLH-Philippines was held on July 2009 in Tagaytay City. The event was co-organized by The UPLB Genetics Society together with the pioneering member organizations from UP Los Banos.# 

Members of the Folic Acid Campaign Committee together with the officers of The UPLB Genetics Society.