This Holy Month of Ramadhan, people that are blessed truly become blessings to others. This is true about what the Haji Rafique Foundation is currently doing in Muslim communities in the country.
Giving food packs and relief goods to brethren in the faith and non-Muslims alike is the attitude that is pleasant in the eyes of the Almighty Allah (SWT). Coincided with the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, the foundation recently gave relief goods to the Garden Mosque in Maharlika Village in Taguig.
And from Taguig which is in Luzon, the foundation also reached out to Davao Del Sur to give through the Muslim Religious Leaders of Sitio Tacub, Sta. Cruz. The generous contributions were shared with the communities 95% Tausug inhabitants together with tribes like Bangingi and Sama and with Christian brethren.
Their humanitarian efforts were assisted by Bro. Jadjurie Arasa, Chairman of the Taguig Muslim Consultative Council. The leaders who were present in Davao Del Sur who has express their gratitude were Panglima Nul Indanan, Imam Usman Indanan and Bilal Nawadil Adjal with Mars Sarahadil.
The leaders pray that Allah (SWT) would continuously bless the people behind the HRF with health, wealth and success in all their noble undertakings. With details from Bro. Jadjurie Arasa of the TMCC and DZMJ Online’s Mj Balaguer.///Abdul malik Bin Ismail, +639262261791, firstname.lastname@example.org
NAST HEALTH SCIENCES DIVISION STATEMENT: SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AS DRIVERS TO WIN THE RACE AGAINST COVID19
The current CoViD19 problem caused by the SARS CoV2 virus has raised and continue to raise issues on how programs and strategies can better control and prevent the escalation of the problem.
With the recent declarations of the World Health Organization that COVID 19 is already a global pandemic and the implementation of community quarantine and subsequently extended community quarantine initially involving the National Capital Region and eventually the whole of Luzon, we expect greater urgency for countries to implement programs and strategies to stem and arrest this epidemic.
Almost all of these countries, and the Philippines is no exception, have proposed novel and sometimes radical measures as possible solutions.
Almost all of them, however, are not based on scientific studies but largely on expert opinion and what we think worked and did not work during the SARS problem in 2003 and the pandemic influenza global pandemic in 2009.
Being caught in the midst of this ongoing epidemic and the consequent rapid rush of research institutions, both in the private and the public sector to find the magic cure for this disease, whether it be a drug or a vaccine to prevent transmission and infection of the virus, the research community should galvanize and unify efforts to spearhead researches that will address current health issues brought about by the CoViD 19 problem.
Dealing with and confronting this problem will require a whole of government-led approach with involvement and engagement of the private sector and the general public.
Networking and collaboration among and within these different groups will be the key. Researches, in particular, will be critical in the fight against the CoViD 19 recognizing that this is a new disease with a potentially different behavior, progression and effect on the health of individuals, the community and the nation as compared to the other emerging pathogens
We, at the National Academy of Science and Technology, fully support the current research initiatives of the government and the Department of Science and Technology.
In the face of limited resources and paucity of knowledge concerning the virus and the disease it causes, researches are being developed and implemented in collaboration with various research groups both here and abroad to address various aspects of the CoViD19 problem.
In the light of all these, we propose that the following researches be done or enhanced to identify and implement the most effective measures to address problem of CoViD 19 in the following areas:
1) In the area of epidemiology, modeling studies, which are mostly mathematical, may help us better understand how the epidemic will evolve. Input of health data into these disease models, as the epidemic progresses, will be very important to provide government planners scientific projections on how this epidemic will progress.
2) The data generated will be very helpful in forward planning by concerned government agencies to anticipate, prepare and dampen the effects of this epidemic on different aspects of national life, including the economy.
3) In the area of diagnostics, whereas current tests are focused on the detection of the virus in affected patients, tests determining the presence of antibodies mounted by the human hosts should also be developed.
4) These antibody-based assays will help determine the patients who were truly infected, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic. It may catch the cases missed by the tests for detecting infection as these tests may have been done too early or too late in the disease.
5) The tests to detect antibodies will determine the true burden of disease and as well as provide added information on the infectiousness, transmission dynamics and progression of the disease.
6) These tests may also be used for predicting chances for development of complications as well as mortality, especially if the antibodies are proven to be neutralizing antibodies.
3) In the area of therapy, the country should participate in clinical trials that would have already been initiated by other countries to help us better understand patient responses to this therapy and determine whether different genetic backgrounds, cultures and environment may affect patient response.
Moreover, participation in these multi-country studies can facilitate its availability in our country when the results become significant.
4) In the area of prevention and the development of vaccines, knowing more about the virus, its genetic makeup and how fast it mutates or changes will accelerate its development. Characterizing the molecular and genetic structure as isolated from patients in the Philippines can be contributed to the international database that will serve as references for vaccine development. This will ensure that the vaccines developed can induce protection against all of the circulating SarsCoV2 viruses isolated from patients anywhere else in the world.
5) In the area of host factors, genetic biomarkers may be identified that may either predispose or make people less susceptible to the infection. They may also be used to determine risk for severity of disease and complications.
In all of these initiatives, sharing of information within and among scientists, researchers and institutions both here and abroad will help us build on each others’ strengths and accelerate the race for finding the solutions and the answers to many of our questions.
Ultimately, winning the battle would depend on how much and how good we understand our adversary- the Covid19 and the virus that causes it. To many, the virus is like an unknown enemy that works silently easing its way among and through susceptible populations, evading detection and prevention. The experiences of many countries, whether good or bad, will serve as valuable learnings for all of us. For one thing is certain, this epidemic will not be the only ones we will be confronting in the years to come. It has been established by scientists that in the area of zoonotic diseases that start from animal hosts before reaching humans, only half of viruses have been identified. Scientific research and development remain our most effective weapon to confront them and the SARS CoV2.
A quick online nationwide survey to determine the situation of DOST-assisted Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) amidst the CoVID-19 pandemic was conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in collaboration with the Office of the Undersecretary for Regional Operations Brenda L. Nazareth-Manzano and the 16 DOST Regional Offices.
The survey was able to collect data that guided the DOST in formulating ECQ-adaptive policies/measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, especially the imposition of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that affected their businesses.
A total of 2,318 firms assisted under the Department’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) participated in the survey; providing data that may be used to create industry-specific solutions that are tailor-fit to address the needs of every affected business.
Out of the total firms that responded to the survey, 1,594 or 68.8% said that they have temporarily ceased operations due to the nationwide ECQ. Of the remaining 724 firms that sustained their operations during the ECQ, 413 or 57% earned less than ₱50,000 during the ECQ, way below during normal operation. Only businesses that provided “basic commodities and services” were the ones allowed to operate during the ECQ.
Initially, the DOST allowed a 2-month (March to April 2020) rental deferment to all SETUP proponents due to the implementation of the ECQ. However, since the survey yielded results showing how distressed most of the MSMEs are during this crisis, the Department issued an additional 3-month moratorium on SETUP refund payments, thus extending the moratorium up to July 2020.
“This moratorium is our way of helping our MSMEs to survive this crisis. Most of them have already incurred losses and it is just right that we do not add to the burden they are already carrying,” said DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña.
If you are a SETUP proponent and would like to communicate your business concerns to the DOST, please send your inquiries through email at email@example.com or contact the nearest DOST office in your region. (Ramida Ayuji, Office of DOST USec for Regional Operations)