Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has become an indispensable part of everyday life. Effective use of ICT tools in health care delivery will help in achieving the goal of governent in providing equitable access to health care in the rural areas. In line with this, the Department of Science and Technology through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) has recently approved the grant of research entitled “ICT Needs Assessment of Rural Health Units (RHUs) in Zamboanga Peninsula”.
According to the Director of the Zamboanga Consortium for Health Research and Development (ZCHRD) Dr. Teresita Montaño, the study will be conducted by Maria Rosthel A. Geonzon and Ricardo B. Garcia both from the Western Mindanao State University - Research and Development Evaluation Center (WMSU-RDEC). The funding assistance amounting to Four Hundred Fifty One Thousand Seven Hundred Fifteen Pesos (PhP451,715.00) is made possible through the strong collaboration of ZCHRD member institutions in coming up with viable research proposals.
The study will include 1) assessment of the RHUs particularly on the availability ICT tools and extent of utilization; 2)determine the barriers / problems experienced by RHU staff in the utilization of ICT resources; 3) establish data on the technical needs of RHUs in areas, such as ICT resources, connectivity, telecommunication services and support mechanism for sustainability; and 4) identify the availability and adequacy of financial support for adoption / expansion in telecommunication expenses and funds for the maintenance, repair and upgrading of ICT equipments and accessories.
The results of the study shall serve as input to the baseline data for the development of ICT tools, which will be relevant and appropriate in addressing the needs of government health workers in the rural areas. The ICT tools can greatly help capacitate health service units by increasing the quality, relevance and flow of updated and modern knowledge and information to health professionals in rural areas. The Department of Health will be one of the end-users of this study.
PCHRD is one of the three sectoral councils of the DOST. It is a forward-looking, partnership-based national body responsible for coordinating and monitoring health research activities in the country.
ZCHRD was organized to optimize the use of research in alleviating the health and nutrition problems of the people in Region IX. The consortium, with Dr. Teresita Montano of ADZU as the Chairperson, receives financial and technical support from the DOST-PCHRD. DOST-IX serves as the consortium secretariat. (DOST IX PRESS RELEASE: Thelma E. Diego, DOST-IX Website)