Sunday, August 7, 2016

Youth empowerment towards a healthier Philippines: Nampicuan-LGU, DOH Region III gears up its youth for community health promotion


NAMPICUAN, NUEVA ECIJA – The Local Government Unit (LGU) of the municipality of Nampicuan through its Municipal Health Officer (MHO), Dr. Ron Allan Quimado in cooperation with The UPLB Genetics Society (UPLB GeneSoc) and Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH) Philippines established a community-based youth organization in a three-day training camp held last June 7-9, 2016.

Youth Participants from Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija during the commitment setting activity and closing ceremonies of the K4Health Training Program held at La Romana Countryside Haven, June 9, 2016.
A total of 16 youth participants joined the K4Health training program sponsored by the Department of Health – Central Luzon Regional Office (DOH Regional Office III), Newborn Screening Center – Central Luzon (NSC-CL), Institute of Human Genetics (IHG) – NIH, UP Manila, and some alumni members of GeneSoc. Preparatory training activities for facilitators were also made possible through UPLB Ugnayan ng Pahinungod and VYLH-Philippines.

The program title, K4Health (Kabataan for Health), strongly underscores the role of the youth in nation-building and their mobilization towards health promotion. Also, the four “Ks” stand for “Kabataang Kabalikat ng Komunidad para sa Kalusugan,” highlighting the need for the youth to effect change in their community.

The training program, which is a pioneering joint project of VYLH-Philippines and GeneSoc in establishing a community-based VYLH chapter, aimed to organize and mobilize the youth of Nampicuan towards birth defects prevention and newborn screening promotion.

Lectures on community youth training, volunteerism, and the present local health situation in the municipality were delivered by GeneSoc facilitators and Municipal Health Officer Dr. Quimado during the first day of the program which was conducted at Nampicuan's Senior Citizen Hall. The outgoing municipal mayor, Hon. Cora Villanueva was also in attendance to support the activity.

Moreover, representatives from the event sponsors, DOH Region III and NSC-CL, took part in delivering lectures and testimonials during the second day held at La Romana Countryside Haven, Anao, Tarlac.

Representatives from DOH Region III and Newborn Screening Center Central Luzon. (L-R) Dr. Janet T. Miclat, Catherine S. Suril, RN, MAN, Phoebe Queen A. Pamintuan, RN, Safrone Jade P. Dicam, RN, Roland M. Alcantara, RN, and Maria Elissa V. C. Benipayo.
Dr. Janet Miclat of DOH Region III emphasized in her lecture the importance of newborn screening (NBS) by noting that “a simple drop of blood saves lives.” She also introduced the expanded NBS, a procedure which allows for the detection of 28 inborn metabolic errors.

Further, Dr. Miclat reported that the NBS coverage in the region is already 55.99% as of 2014. However, a call to assist the rural health unit in reaching out to pregnant women through the help of youth volunteers is highly necessary to achieve 100% coverage.

Aside from youth participants, the event was also attended by Barangay Service Point Officers (BSPO) in the third day of the training program. Nampicuan BSPOs were given an orientation on preconception health for birth defects prevention. It is expected that the BSPO’s participation will be essential in complementing the planned activities of community volunteer youth leaders.

Hands-on activities and teaching demonstration tasks were assigned to the participants to integrate the advocacies presented by VYLH-Philippines and evaluate their awareness about birth defects and other health-related issues.

Problem tree analysis and commitment setting rites were also conducted in order to strengthen the Nampicuan youth as community volunteers. Induction of new members to VYLH-Philippines and the officers of VYLH – Nampicuan Chapter culminated the three-day training program.

Barangay Service Point Ofiicers (BSPO), GeneSoc facilitators, and youth volunteers of Nampicuan assemble for a photo opportunity after the special portion of the training program intended for BSPOs.
In addition, the MHO Dr. Quimado agreed to act as the adviser of the community-based VYLH chapter.

Meanwhile, the facilitators from UPLB GeneSoc vowed to conduct scheduled site visits in order to monitor the chapter’s performance and provide sustainable support in keeping the youth of Nampicuan active and innovative in attending to the needs of their community.

VYLH-Philippines and UPLB GeneSoc hope that this type of partnership will be replicated soon in other locations in the country.

For more information regarding K4Health Community Youth Training Program, please visit

Monday, August 1, 2016

Official Statement of The UPLB Genetics Society on The SAIS Fiasco

The UPLB Genetics Society, one with the student body, strikes against the exploitation of students with a dubiously expensive system that fails at delivering any satisfactory service. 

With a hefty price tag of about ONE BILLION for the eUP project, the Student Academic Information System (SAIS) is expected to be a program that no longer needs to learn from the previous mistakes of the now extremely reliable homegrown programs of the different UP campuses. Without any consultation with the student body, President Alfredo E. Pascual (PAEP) pushed upon trashing these programs (SystemOne and CRS, among others) to protect his personal interests for a parting legacy in the form of eUP. 

SAIS has failed through and through from UP Manila, UP Cebu, UP Baguio and, now, UP Los Baños. Frequent system shutdowns and the absence of contingency plans paralyzed the SAIS Team and left the students clueless on how to proceed with the registration. However, PAEP chose to turn a blind eye to this distress and have stayed mum on the consequences of his actions. 

Untrue to its vision, SAIS does not intend to make the registration easier and more accessible to all students. It has divided the students into illogical registration appointments that have forced many to consider filing LOAs or transferring to other universities, citing reasons such as frozen SAIS accounts due to pending loans and insufficient academic units. 

Moreover, this system has put many students in danger by setting the start of registration at odd hours and by blocking the connection of students outside the UPLB network, forcing them to camp inside the campus in the dangerous wee hours.

We send a blunt message to the administration and the taxpayers of our esteemed country. Help stop this senseless abuse of authority and terminate this program before its price tag shoots up again. 

JUNK SAIS, but most importantly, INVESTIGATE SAIS.