The Philippines will host for the first time the Science Council of Asia (SCA) conference through the National Research Council of the Philippines-Department of Science and Technology on June 13-16, 2009. The theme of the 10th SCA Conference is themed ‘Meeting Health Challenges in the Asia Pacific—responding through an integrated and multidisciplinary approach in science and technology’.
The major health challenges in Asia and the Pacific are varied – ranging from food and water borne diseases and the continuing scourge of tuberculosis to emerging health security concerns brought about by climate change and globalization.
Shigeru Omi, former regional director of the World Health Organization-Western Pacific Office, said that while the region has done well in addressing health threats and concerns during the past decade, the challenges ahead remain daunting. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization Assistant Director General Hartwig de Haen reported in 2004 that every year 700,000 people die from food and water borne diseases in countries of the Asia-Pacific Region. Director General for Food Safety of the World Health Organization Kerstin Leitner also reported that the danger of food-related outbreaks is particularly acute in the Asia-Pacific Region because of higher instances in which the animals and people live in proximity along with sporadic food production and distribution.
In the local scene, Filipino Veterinary Microbiologist Alice-Alma C. Bungay in her research, published in the DOST Philippine Journal of Science, Vol. 131, June 2002, stated that the unprecedented change in microbial population triggers the emergence of micro-organisms — evolving virulently, stronger, and dangerous to human health.
NRCP President and 2009-2010 SCA President Jaime C. Montoya said that it is a great privilege for the Philippines through the NRCP – DOST to have taken the hosting job and lead this 10th SCA Conference to serve as the venue for the discussion and framing up a plan of action that would address these health challenges. He explained that since the event is a national undertaking, representatives from different institutions and organizations should forge a holistic effort that would ensure the accomplishment of the conference objectives anchored on health including those that cut across various disciplines. Among these institutions include the Philippine Social Science Council, DOH Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau, UPD College of Social Science and Philosophy, Philippine Association of Marine Scientists, S&T Innovation for Base of the Pyramid in Southeast Asia, and the Philippine Tourism Authority.
NRCP as the country’s premier for basic research — with more than three thousand member researchers, scientists, and technologists spread over 13 scientific fields, could very well contribute in responding to this through integrated and multidisciplinary approach in science and technology researches, Montoya added.
Concerning the details of the event, NRCP Executive Director Napoleon P. Hernandez explained that technical papers/posters for plenary presentation and exhibition on the topic within the scope of the conference theme may be submitted.