March 23, 2021- “It is through this program that we can produce more graduates for the LGUs to utilize as contact tracers who will work to prevent the spread of coronavirus in their respective barangays,” said TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) urged anew local government units (LGUs) to avail of its free contact tracing training program (CTTP) as the country is now experiencing a surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
It can be recalled that at the onset of the pandemic last year, TESDA head Lapeña immediately ordered for the registration of more health-related programs and tasked the agency’s Qualifications and Standards Office to develop competency standards on contact tracing.
He likewise directed the TESDA Technology Institutions (TTIs) nationwide to register the program and partner with barangay health centers, LGUs, Philippine Red Cross (PRC), or Department of Health (DOH) facilities in their areas.
With this, TESDA, in September last year, has started offering free contact tracing training program to support the country’s fight against the spread of the new coronavirus.
From September last year up to March this year, based on raw data gathered from the published reports of the Agency’s regional and provincial offices, at least 332 TESDA scholars have completed their training on Contact Tracing Level II.
Earlier, Lapeña expressed his optimism that this initiative will benefit the community and the LGUs particularly in the barangay level.
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. had said that contact tracing has been the weakest point of the country’s pandemic response.
Contact tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong had said that the country needs a 1:37 patient to close contacts ratio in order to cut the transmission of the disease.
Moreover , the training on contact tracing, which was developed with the help of the Health Human Resources Development Bureau of the DOH and the health industry experts, runs for 15 days under blended learning modality.
Trainees with training allowance amounting to Php 2,400 for the entire training duration, insurance coverage, and additional allowance to cover internet expenses and personal protective equipment. The graduates may apply in LGUs of their choice for possible employment after their training.
Trainees for contact tracing requirement are at least 10 years basic education or holder of Alternative Learning System certificate of completion with Grade 10 equivalent and has basic communication skills.
FDA approved Sputnik V for Emergency Use
March 19, 20201- The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to Sputnik V, one of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccines, today, 19 March 2021, as announced by FDA Director General Eric Domingo during the Department of Health (DOH)’s Special Briefing.
Authorized for limited use among Filipino individuals aged 18 and above, the non-replicating viral vector COVID-19 vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology through the support of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). Both Gamaleya and RDIF were identified by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), which chairs the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG VES), as one of its bilateral partners for the possible conduct of vaccine clinical trials in the Philippines.
The DOST-convened Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) has reviewed the initial clinical trial data of Sputnik V, which served as one of the bases for the FDA’s approval of the vaccine’s EUA application.
As early as August 2020, the DOST-led TG VES has been in contact with Gamaleya and RDIF, through the assistance of both the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Philippines, in terms of COVID-19 vaccine development, and more recently, in Gamaleya’s submission of the required documents to FDA for their EUA application.
The DOST welcomes this development as the country now has an additional approved vaccine in its portfolio for the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program Reference from Office of the Undersecretary for Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology OUSECRD – DOST, S& T Media Services of PCAARRD and ITDI
Magmasid gamit ang MASDAN’, DOST-funded, UP-developed mobile app to help in environment protection
By Jachin Jane O. Aberilla, DOST-STII
Citizens can now report environmental issues and concerns through a mobile application called ‘MASDAN’. MASDAN is a platform for citizen science to map and monitor the water quality of Manila Bay and other similar areas in the country.
In 2020, the University of the Philippines- Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched a two-year program in response to the need for technological interventions concerning the rehabilitation and sustainability of the Manila Bay area dubbed, “IM4ManilaBay”.
MASDAN mobile app is one of the outputs of the Development of an Integrated Mapping, Monitoring, and Analytical Network System for Manila Bay and Linked Environments project or MApABLE, one of the four projects of the IM4ManilaBay Program.
What is Citizen Science
“Everything is mappable. We want to enable mapping and monitoring of the environment using geo-spatial technology such as remote sensing, surveying, graphic report systems, and other related technologies as well as citizen science.” said the IM4ManilaBay Program project leader, Dr. Ariel C. Blanco.
According to National Geographic, citizen science is the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge. Through citizen science, people share and contribute to data monitoring and collection programs. Usually, this participation is done by unpaid volunteers.
“Through citizen science, everyone has a role to play. We want to enable them to contribute towards generating actionable information.” Blanco added.
How to use the app
Jomer Medina, Senior Science Research Specialist of Project MapAble, demonstrated the framework of MASDAN. Users would have to register first and fill out the user profile form on the app. After which, users can now submit a narrative on an environmental issue or concern, its location, and accompanying photos as evidence. Users can also pin the exact location of the issue on a map. In the meantime, the app can only accept photos, not videos.
Concerned citizens can report the following environmental issues:
- algal bloom
- fish kill
- water pollution
- water hyacinth
- ongoing reclamation
- solid waste
Once a report is submitted, it goes through a server where it can be directly accessible to appropriate national government agencies, state universities, and colleges, higher education institutions, local government units, civil service societies, and citizens. Through the app, concerned agencies can take action on the reports submitted by the users.
MASDAN app is not only meant for Manila Bay concerns, citizens can also report issues in the Laguna lake area and other areas in the Philippines.
What is it in for the users
“Ang pangangalaga sa kalikasan ay responsibilidad ng bawat isa. Dahil sa partisipasyon ng publiko sa pangangalap at pagbabahagi ng datos at impormasyon, nagiging matibay ang ugnayan sa pagitan ng publiko at eksperto. Nagiging mabilis na pagsasagawa ng pag-aaral at nagkakaroon ng konteksto dahil sa input ng mga mamamayan,” Medina highlighted.
Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, executive director of the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technologies Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) expressed his appreciation to the project team for making this innovative mobile application, MASDAN.
“I encourage citizens to actively participate and become more informed on Manila Bay’s conditions thus becoming more empowered and more aware. Let’s partake in this opportunity to contribute, share knowledge, and exchange views”, Dr. Paringit added.Let’s do our share and be a ‘mapaBler’ now and download the MASDAN app on Google play. (S&T Media Service)