By: Krizzia Mei C. Esperanza

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) CALABARZON continued with its free online seminar series #BANGON Bayanihan tungo sa pagbangon with two webinars on Kalusugan (Health) on October 12 and 14, 2020. This is part of DOST-CALABARZON’s pre-National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) celebration with the theme “Agham at Teknolohiya: Sandigan ng Kalusugan, Kabuhayan, Kaayusan, at Kinabukasan.” The first day, participated by 50 individuals, focused on dengue, and the second, attended by 80 individuals, focused on mental health, both in connection to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Alexander R. Madrigal, Regional Director of DOST-CALABARZON, welcomed the participants, and said that the topics were selected to respond to the difficulties in addressing specific health concerns, that of dengue and of mental health, brought about by the pandemic.

Dr. Regina P. Berba shares various findings on the similarities of dengue and COVID-19, including the duration of its incubation period, October 12, 2020.

On October 12, Dr. Regina P. Berba, Head of the Hospital Infection Control Unit, and Infectious Disease Specialist of the UP-PGH, talked about dengue, its similarities to COVID-19, and the challenges in responding to dengue outbreaks in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  She explained that since dengue and COVID-19 have almost identical clinical manifestations, the diagnosis and treatment of dengue have become more challenging. However, she cited that several studies found an inverse correlation between dengue and COVID-19. Interestingly, in areas with high incidence of dengue fever cases, such as in Brazil, the rate of spread of COVID-19 is significantly slower. While it is still early to conclude, Dr. Berba shared a hypothesis that persons who contracted dengue in the past may have developed immunity, to some degree, from COVID-19. She ended her discussion by introducing a cheap yet effective dengue detection kit, Biotek M, which is designed and developed by Filipino inventors led by Dr. Raul V. Destura and was funded by DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development.

Mr. Lyle Christian R. Herbosa demonstrates how Kiti-KitiX is used, October 12, 2020.

The following speaker, Mr. Lyle Christian R. Herbosa, introduced another Filipino-developed product, the Kiti-KitiX. He demonstrated how the product, which he started to develop in 2007, is used by sprinkling a dash of the Kiti-KitiX powder into a glass container filled with water. He expounded that for a liter of stagnant water, the breeding place of the kiti-kiti (mosquito larva), only a gram of the powder is required, and the vector of the disease would be eradicated. Other significant features of the product, according to Mr. Herbosa, are that its effectivity lasts for 11 months, it is non-toxic to humans and animals except for mosquitos, and it is rated with high level of efficacy by several evaluation committees, including the Bureau of Food and Drugs of the Department of Health. His invention was the first to have successfully availed the DOST-Technology Application and Promotion Institute’s (DOST-TAPI) iTECH Lending Program in partnership with the Land Bank of the Philippines. It was also a recipient of the DOST-TAPI’s Invention-based Enterprise Development or IBED II program.

Dr. Joffrey Sebastian E. Quiring, M.D. EMSRHS offers the 7 S’s to overcome compassion and caution fatigue, October 14, 2020.

On October 14, the #BANGON dialogue on Kalusugan resumed with Dr. Joffrey Sebastian E. Quiring, M.D. EMSRHS, FPPA Psychiatrist, and Mental Health and Wellness Specialist, as resource speaker to talk about overcoming compassion and caution fatigue during the COVID-19 pandemic. The choice of topic is timely in reference to the celebration of the National Mental Health Week. Compassion fatigue is experienced when one, usually a medical practitioner, take on the suffering of their patient or client. On the other hand, caution fatigue manifests in apathy towards effecting safety precautionary measures due to stress over, for example, the pandemic. Dr. Quiring clarified that compassion and caution fatigue are not considered mental disorders, but rather are recognized phenomena in which a person’s mental health is adversely affected akin to “burnout”. He recommended the 7 S’s to address compassion and caution fatigue, which are: self-awareness; solution-focused thinking; soothing your senses; social support; service to others; spirituality and finding meaning; and self-compassion.

The invited speakers addressed questions from the participants, some of which opened for collaborations, such as in procuring Biotek M and Kiti-KitiX for LGUs, and inviting the resource persons to speak in future audience-specific webinars. Ms. Emelita P. Bagsit, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations of DOST-CALABARZON, closed the webinars with a reflection on how the topics help in coping up with the pandemic.

Watch a recording of the October 12 #BANGON webinar on dengue here; and the October 14 #BANGON webinar on mental health here.