Article and photos by Prof Dr Michael Angelo B. Promentilla, 2018/19 ASEAN Science and Technology Fellow at Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, Department of Science and Technology, The Philippines.
The Philippines is ranked the 3rd country in the world with the highest number of natural disasters from the year 1994 to 2013. With its commitment to pursue the strategic goals of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the Philippine government expressed its support to the Bangkok Principles of the Sendai Framework for health to be at the center of DRR during the 2017 Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction. It also underscores the importance of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and encourages its application in the country’s DRR and climate change adaptation efforts at national and local levels. Accordingly, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) of the Department of Science and Technology identified health resiliency in the context of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (DRR-CCA) as one of the priority areas under the National Unified Health Research Agenda for 2017-2022.
It is recognised that scientists and researchers from across disciplines should play a role in providing the information, methods and tools needed to fully understand health risks and vulnerabilities as well as to build resilience against disaster and climate change. To ensure the sustainability of such research programs, a paradigm shift in thinking must integrate, organise and prioritise research within the context of a system.
During my time as an S&T Fellow, the PCHRD team and I proposed a research roadmap and framework wherein research programs can be developed to improve the ability of the country’s health system to be resilient concerning emerging global and domestic threats by establishing a national platform and conducting health-focused research in DRR-CCA. This framework can then be applied in a planning workshop to identify health-focused research opportunities to strengthen community and health systems resilience in the context of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Such a framework could aid us in the planning and developing of a roadmap by identifying key issues and research gaps, visualising interactions within the systems, organising information, developing computational models, and identifying indicators.