Press Release
November 9, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara lauded the National Telehealth Center (NTHC) of the University of the Philippines-Manila as training began for 70 new doctors on telemedicine applications and technologies under the "Doctors to the Barrios" (DTTB) program of the Department of Health (DOH).

The doctors comprise the 29th batch in the DTTB program, and are set to gain a certificate in eHealth and Telemedicine under the P30 million National Telehealth Service Program (NTSP) of the DOH and the NTHC.

"Universal healthcare can be achieved sooner if we enhance the ecosystem for telemedicine in the country," said Angara, author of the Philhealth Act. "About 30 percent of Filipinos die without seeing a doctor. Preparing our doctors to harness ICT connectivity will significantly access to health services."

Earlier this year, the DOH and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) towards the institutionalization of the NTSP, which aims to use ICT technologies in expanding the scope of the healthcare services of the government to geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA).

Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), noted that the DOST, in partnership with the NTSP, has recently rolled out 100 units of the RxBox to various parts of the country for pilot testing.

Developed through funding from the Philippine Council on Health Research and Development (PCHRD), the RxBox is a portable device which stores patient data--such as heart rate, ECG, blood pressure and pulse rate--and transmits them from DTTB's to clinical specialists in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

"These developments are clear examples of how focused efforts in training and technology can help the country face its toughest challenges: access to basic healthcare. To move forward, we need to investment more in skills development and R&D," said Angara.

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