DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Week 57 Report (as of April 30, 2021)
HIGHLIGHTS OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
The Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) interventions to address the COVID-19 pandemic, help rebuild the economy, and respond to pressing concerns through science, technology and innovations have been highlighted by a number of accomplishments, such as the following:
1. DOST-PCHRD supports Aruga sa Batang may Cancer (ABC) Initiative to deliver palliative care services to pediatric patients
The DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) continues to support the “Aruga sa Batang may Cancer (ABC) Initiative program that aims to alleviate health burden among pediatric patients diagnosed with cancer through the development and implementation of a website focused on the delivery of palliative care services. The program addresses gaps in knowledge, expertise, and accessibility of palliative care services for pediatric patients, their primary caregivers, and healthcare professionals. It is implemented by the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), in collaboration with the following tertiary hospitals which serve as their deployment sites: Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH), Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), and Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).
The program offers learning management systems (LMS) for healthcare professionals and primary caregivers of pediatric patients with cancer, pediatric oncology registry for health facility administrators, and telemedicine platform that may be used in Rural Health Units (RHUs), city health centers, and tertiary healthcare facilities in NCR (PCMC), Region V (BRTTH), Region VII (VSMMC), and Region XI (SPMC). It aims to reduce travel time and expenses for pediatric patients with cancer and their primary caregivers, as the technology allows them to avail of follow-up teleconsultations in RHUs/health centers nearest to their residence. It also seeks to enhance the knowledge on pediatric palliative care for healthcare professionals and primary caregivers of pediatric patients with cancer and increase clinical data on the course and management of pediatric cancer cases for health facility administrators and the Department of Health.
Since March 2019, there have been 3,153 unique visitors to the learning management system for primary caregivers of pediatric patients with cancer. On the other hand, there are 127 enrollees and 11 completers of the Pediatric Palliative Course for Physicians (PPCP). The course was re-developed into two parts for better student retention. There are 682 enrollees and 272 completers of the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) course. The project team is consulting PRC on possible accreditation of the said courses.
In 2020, the project team completed the development of the direct patient-to-doctor telemedicine mode, in order to ramp up patient enrollment and to address restrictions brought about by the implementation of community quarantine and other safety measures secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since pediatric patients with cancer are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and other infections, they are encouraged to stay home and to limit their exposure to other people. In this mode of telemedicine delivery, the pediatric patient and their primary caregiver may directly consult oncologists or palliative care specialists through the online platform, while at home.
A total of 24 healthcare professionals from the four tertiary hospitals and their partner RHUs and local health centers were trained in the use of the telemedicine platform. As of April 26, 2021, the telemedicine platform has served a total of 170 unique patients from CAR, Region 2, Region 3, NCR, Region 4A, Region 4B, Region 5, Region 7, Region 11, and Region 12.
Meanwhile, a pediatric oncology registry was also developed to gather data on, and monitor health outcomes and provision of clinical care to pediatric patients with cancer consulting in PCMC, BRTTH, VSMMC, and SPMC. The data of pediatric patients who availed teleconsultations were integrated into the hospital-based pediatric oncology registry. This is also in compliance with Republic Act No. 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act.