DOST seeks to strengthen epidemiology study, gives scholarships

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2022 03:23 PM

A health worker from the home service laboratory Swab Wheels on the Go administers a COVID-19 RT-PCR tests in Quezon City on January 17, 2022. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News/File
A health worker from the home service laboratory Swab Wheels on the Go administers a COVID-19 RT-PCR tests in Quezon City on January 17, 2022. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Thursday it awarded scholarships to 8 people in a bid to strengthen the study of epidemiology in the country, following the COVID-19 pandemic.

This marks the first time that the DOST had given scholarships for epidemiology scholars. The agency plans to continue the program, depending on the demand and interest from potential fellows.

"The difficulty in managing such a... disease emphasize[d] the need for more researchers who specialize in public health to contribute to the implementation of evidence-informed strategies or policies," Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, said in an online press conference. 

"As demonstrated in the past 2 years, reliable information on science play crucial roles in minimizing the risk of infection or mitigating the overall effect of COVID-19," he added.

The 10-month program, set to end on November, is expected to build the skills of the epidemiology fellows.

"Ito ay makakatulong na magkaroon ang Pilipinas ng hanay ng mga eksperto o pool of experts na may sapat na kaalaman at kakayahan sa pag-aaral ng pampublikong kalusugan," said Science Secretary Fortunato De la Peña.

(This will help the Philippines to have its own pool of experts with sufficient knowledge and skills in the study of public health.)

The scholars, who applied for the program in late 2021, will also receive a monthly stipend of P25,000 as well as research and capacity building grants.

De la Peña said there is a "return of service" for the scholars.

"Kung may umalis, 'di bale. Produce lang tayo nang produce. Bandang huli, marami na tayong na-develop, kahit umalis marami pa rin tayong natitira," he said.

(If a scholar leaves for abroad, it's all right. We will keep producing. In the end, we will develop plenty of scientists, even if a lot of them leave, we will still have enough left.)

— Report from Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

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