Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Guide to 100% Condom Use Programme in the Philippines

The 100% CUP was introduced initially in three sites in the Philippines in 1999 by Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) through the AIDS Surveillance and Education Project (ASEP) of USAID. This was expanded to five other sites in 2000-2002.

In 2003, this approach was further implemented in San Fernando, La Union, Dagupan and Urdaneta, Pangasinan; and Laoag City through the assistance of WHO. An assessment of the program was done in April-June 2007 through site visits, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The assessment included a number of recommendations for the various implementers of the 100% CUP.

Based on these recommendations, a 3-month project was created to put together guidelines and subsequently train the implementers in other sites in the Philippines. The project was implemented by HAIN and HDII in coordination with DOH and WHO.

HAIN developed the “Implementer’s Guide to 100% Condom Use Programme in the Philippines” based on experiences from other countries and the pilot sites. The draft was validated through a workshop with key stakeholders involved in the implementation of the programme. The validation is one step to assure that prior to the pre-testing of the Implementer’s Guide and the Training Manual, a process of ensuring accuracy and appropriateness has been done.

The Guide became the basis for HDII to revise the “100% CUP Training Manual,” to conduct the training of trainers and the return demonstration to solicit comments and to further validate the contents and process. Based on the inputs from the validation workshops, training of trainers, and return demonstration activies, the Implementer’s Guide” and the Training Manual on the 100% CUP was finalized.

DOH, HAIN Developed PEP Guidelines

The Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) Policy Guidelines was developed in response to the results of the External Assessment of VCT (Voluntary Counseling and Testing) and Procurement and Supply Chain Management for HIV and AIDS Program. The Assessment recommended the need for the PEP system to be in place in all health facilities.

The PEP Guidelines will serve as the national guideline for all government hospitals and other health care facilities as well as for private hospitals and private practitioners. The availability of PEP for health workers will serve to increase staff motivation to work with people infected with HIV, and may help to retain staff concerned about the risk of exposure to HIV in the workplace. Within the health sector, PEP should be provided as part of a comprehensive standard precaution package that reduces staff exposure to infectious hazards at work.

To facilitate the development of the PEP Policy Guidelines, the Department of Health partnered with HAIN with support from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The 3-month process involved conducting meetings and consultations with health researchers, program directors, and health practitioners in the field of HIV and AIDS leading to the formation of PEP Technical Working Group (TWG).

HAIN prepared the preliminary guidelines and through these meetings, the TWG discussed and provided more input to the draft guidelines for improvement. In finalizing and to further enhance the guidelines, HAIN organized a validation writeshop in September 17, 2007 and has invited participants from regional partners and treatment hubs who are in the frontline of AIDS treatment, care and support.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Travelogue: Healthlink’s 30th Anniversary in London

In October, Healthlink Worldwide, invited HAIN to participate at their global partners meeting which coincided with the celebration of their 30th founding anniversary. It was my first viist to London so I was excited! With some problems with my passport and visa, I had to re-book my flight one day later which mean I missed the first meeting in London held at the House of Parliaments.

Days 2 and 3 of the meeting were held in a Baptist Church. There, I got to see old friends again like David, Luc, Shaidul, James, Kuhu, etc. Then there were many new acquaintances from Africa, India and from Healthlink. The meeting was interesting, inspiring and I like the new people I have met (I couldn’t remember their names unless I would look at the directory). Shampa and Stephanie of Healthlink were also nice and it’s good to finally see them in person.

Healthlink also organized a cocktail party wherein friends of the organization also attended to celebrate the 30th year. We all came in our national costumes (I wasn’t exactly wearing a Filipino dress) and I like the dresses of the Africans. Healthlink is one of the NGOs I really admire and I am glad it has become part of my career. It was heart-warming to see David and the rest of the staff in their turf.

Then finally, after three days meeting, Delen and I were free to go around the city. We first visited the Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guards. We enjoyed strolling at St. James Park down to The Big Ben, House of Parliaments and the Westminster Abbey. It was tiring to become a tourist in a very interesting city but I really enjoyed going to The London Eye, Harrods and Oxford street. The Tower Bridge, National Gallery and Covent Garden also became part of our itenerary. But I was more thrilled when we went to King’s Cross station. It was all I wanted so that I could somehow feel Harry Potter mania! I was all smiles when I had my picture taken at Platform 93/4

After the Healthlink meeting, Delen and I spent extra days at the Ockelford’s manor. Jane who used to work with HAIN a long time ago and is now married to Jeremy Ockelford, was a very dear to host us. I love my pictures from this trip and I cherish every moment I was there. I wish I could go back again to Europe!

by Joyce P. Valbuena, HAIN Research and Publications Coordinator

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Travelogue: 4th APCRSHR, Hyderabad, India

The 4th Asia-Pacific Conference of Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (Theme: ‘New Frontiers in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights’) was held in Hyderabad,India last October 29-31, 2007. It brought together around 2,000 participants with diverse backgrounds, situations and expertise from 42 countries in an enabling environment of sharing and exchanging ideas, networking, collaborating and learning. Conference highlights included symposia, plenaries, skills-building workshops, satellite sessions and poster-displays on emerging challenges in HIV/AIDS, LGBTs, family planning, sex education, adolescent issues and other reproductive and sexual health and rights (RSHR) concerns.

The conference gave me an opportunity to present a paper entitled, “Sexual and Protective Practices Among Self-Identified Homosexuals in Metro Manila, Philippines” which drew an audience from different countries. Several questions and inquiries were posted and answered throughout my presentation. At the end of my presentation, I felt drained and exhausted but was relieved and fulfilled with the turn-out of my presentation in terms of numbers and the thought-provoking questions that transpired. Overall, I can say (with conviction) that it was a success.

Looking back, I believe that the conference explored a few new frontiers on reproductive and sexual health and rights. However, it gave me a deeper commitment in continuing and expanding my sphere of influence in sexual and reproductive health and rights especially in issues pertaining to adolescent reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, and LGBTs. I was also able to take a stock of the progress and sharing of experiences providing a common platform in discussing issues and enhancing understanding and promoting the agenda on SRHR. Moreover, the conference brought me to forge and strengthen old as well as new linkages with fellow RSHR advocates across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. In summary, it was a good conference, nonetheless, but not an exceptional one so to speak.

I am looking forward to the 5th Asia-Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights which will be held in Hanzhou, China in 2009.

By Rikki Trinidad, HAIN Research Associate

Thursday, October 04, 2007


The low priority the Arroyo government places on health has branded the Philippines among the worst in the world when it comes to providing health services to its people, according to independent think-tank IBON Foundation.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in its World Health Statistics 2007, gave the Philippines dismal rankings in various health provision indicators.

Among 192 countries the Philippines ranks 153rd in terms of government spending on health as a share of a country's total health spending. Filipinos have increasingly relied on out of pocket expenses on health, as against government allocation.

The country also ranks 156th in terms of the share of the government budget going to health.

In the proposed 2008 national budget, only 1.5% of the total budget will go to health. Total health budget for 2008 is P22.9 billion, equivalent to just 0.31% of GDP. Health budget was marginally better at 0.58% of GDP in 1997 and 0.74% in 1990.
However, health budgets still fall well below the 5% of GDP that should be committed to health spending recommended by the WHO.

IBON points out that the per capita health spending in the proposed 2008 budget is just P253 per Filipino, further highlighting how government is taking the least responsibility to meet its citizens' health needs. (end)

Source: IBON Media Release/October 3, 2007
IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Global Crisis and People’s Health

The month of July ended with news on climate change, war, violence, militarization and emergence of new forms of diseases.

Parts of eastern India and Bangladesh have been devastated by the worst floods in these countries’ history, killing more than 2,000 people. Millions more have been left homeless, without any adequate supplies of food, water, and medicines.

The WHO explains that climate change has direct impacts on people’s health in terms of temperature-related illness and death, the health impacts of extreme weather events, and the effects of air pollution in the form of spores and moulds. Other impacts follow more intricate pathways such as those that give rise to water- and food-borne diseases; vector-borne and rodent-borne diseases; or food and water shortages.

Doctors warn that people’s health is more at risk now with the reemergence of old types of diseases in newer and virtually untreatable forms while there were also 19 new diseases discovered recently.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Unicef, WHO Back Philippines’ Milk Code

Officials of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organization (WHO) denounced on Monday attempts by international pharmaceutical firms to stop the implementation of the Milk Code of the Philippines that would regulate infant formula advertising and promote breastfeeding.

“There is great concern in the international community over what is happening in the Philippines at the moment,” David Clark, Unicef legal expert on milk code enforcement, said in a statement.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Tuesday oral arguments on the Milk Code, which was temporarily held in abeyance upon the pleading of milk companies represented by the Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the Philippines.

The code bans advertisements for breast milk substitutes intended for infants and children up to two years old. Milk companies argued that the code curtailed international trade and marketing agreements.

The United States Chamber of Commerce has asked the Department of Trade and Industry to reexamine the Milk Code and its impact on trade, investment, employment and other commercial activities.

“The blockage of the implementation of the code sends a negative message to other countries around the world that are trying to protect infant health and survival through strong national legislation,” said Clark.

The Department of Health wants the temporary restraining order lifted, saying the Milk Code was intended to arrest the decline in breastfeeding.

At a press conference, Clark said the milk companies were “picking on” the Philippines when it came to the Milk Code because of the big market for their products here. He noted that the amount spent for advertising infant formula in the Philippines was twice that spent in the United States.

The Unicef officer also said the milk companies’ “seductive” advertising lured parents into abandoning breastfeeding in favor of infant formula.

The DoH said the milk ads promoted false claims, like when they said their products made children more intelligent.

“Why are these companies picking on the Philippines? Why are they choosing to put corporate profits before infant survival?” he said.

Clark also contested claims that the Milk Code would hamper trade with multinational companies. He pointed out that the Milk Code would only regulate the marketing of infant formula and not trade and manufacture, and added that the code would be applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.

Clark warned that “powdered infant formula is not a sterile product and may contain harmful bacteria. The government of the Philippines should be applauded for attempting to protect the health and survival of Filipino infants in this way.”

WHO medical officer Howard Sobel, for his part, noted that 10,000 deaths could have been avoided if infants had been exclusively breastfed in the first six months of life. Formula-fed infants are 14 times more likely to die from diarrhea, according to Sobel.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 18, 2007
Read related story Moms go bare for breastfeeding

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

WB: 19% of RP population in 2000 very poor

At least 14.8 million Filipinos try to survive on less than $1 a day, accounting for 1.5 percent of the people in the world currently trapped in extreme poverty, according to latest World Bank estimates.

But some 43 million in the Philippines, based on the country’s population in 2000, live on $2 a day, the less extreme international measure of poverty.

Data from the World Development Indicators (WDI) 2007 showed that global poverty rates continued to fall in the first four years of the 21st century, with the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day falling below the 1 billion mark.

Two-dollar-a-day poverty rates were falling too, but an estimated 2.6 billion people, almost half the population of the developing world, were still living below that level in 2004.

The WDI Indicators 2007, a publication, was launched here on Sunday on the sidelines of the joint International Monetary Fund-World Bank spring meetings.

People living on less than $1 a day fell to 18.4 percent as a share of the total population in 2004, leaving an estimated 985 million people living in extreme poverty.

By comparison, the total number of the world’s extremely poor was 1.25 billion in 1990.

Between 1990 and 2004, dollar-a-day poverty fell by more than 260 million, according to the World Bank.

Filipinos living on the $1-a-day international poverty line accounted for 19 percent of the Philippine population of 76.5 million as of May 2000. (The country’s population today is about 88 million.)

Poverty measures, based on an international poverty line, attempt to hold the real value of poverty constant across countries, as done when making comparisons over time.

The commonly used $1-a-day standard, measured in 1985 international prices and adjusted to local currency, is typical of the poverty lines in low-income countries.

By Doris Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

HIV infections in Asia could more than double in 5 years: Commission

The number of people in Asia infected with the HIV virus that causes AIDS could more than double to 20 million over the next five years without a better government response and more funding, officials warned Friday.

"At the current level of inadequate response, it is expected this number will rise to about 20 million in the next five years," said the independent Commission on Aids in Asia that is funded by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS or UNAIDS.

There are currently around 8.6 million people infected in Asia with HIV. It said the number of deaths currently average around 500,000 yearly and financial losses to the Asian region are estimated at US$10
billion annually. But that economic cost is predicted to rise to as high as US$29 billion per year if the epidemic is not controlled within the next five years.

Despite these projections, investments on HIV control in the region remain extremely low at ten percent of the required US$5 billion per year, it added.

UNAIDS data show the number of infected people receiving antiretroviral therapy, which inhibits the replication of the HIV virus, has increased more than threefold since 2003, but they represent only 16 percent of the total of those in need of treatment in Asia.

Only Thailand is providing treatment to at least 50 percent of those in need, UNAIDS said.

The nine-member commission of economists, policy makers and civil society members was created in 2006 to analyze the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS and make policy recommendations on how it can be
mitigated. The commission is holding its two-day Southeast Asia Sub-Regional workshop in Manila until Friday.

Chakravarthy Rangarajan, chairman of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's economic advisory council and head of the commission, told reporters that while the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is low in Southeast Asia, the region is populous, making the number of infections high.

It also has a huge number of mobile workers, who risk spreading HIV. He also said there was a need to mobilize domestic funds to control HIV/AIDS in the region, because more than 80 percent of funding
currently comes from foreign aid organizations.

In Southeast Asia, Laos and the Philippines are among those which have low HIV prevalence rates, while Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand are among those which have a high prevalence of the virus, according
to J. V. R. Prasada Rao, a UNAIDS director and a member of the commission.

The commission said the reasons for the inadequate response in the region are manifold, ranging from low levels of awareness and understanding among policy makers of the long term impact of HIV/AIDS
to a difficulty in predicting the dynamics of the disease progression, and a lack of funding.

Sex remains taboo, with very little encouragement for sex and family education for young people. Multi-partner sex and injecting drug use, which mainly drive the epidemic, are criminal acts in the eyes of the
law, resulting in infected populations remaining highly stigmatized and deprived of even limited health care services, it added.

(originally posted at AIDS_ASIA@yahoogroups.com)

Friday, March 23, 2007

It takes a community to successfully fight TB

Rolando Quimpo, a carpenter who sports a pony tail, wears earrings and a sleeveless shirt, is not shy to show his daily card checks that indicate how he religiously took his daily oral tuberculosis medication for eight months, two months longer than usual.

A recent sputum test, the golden standard of TB tests, gave the 50-year-old grandfather a clean bill of health. He has also distanced himself from cigarettes and alcohol. Now, if he could only get carpentry jobs more often.

Quimpo and his wife were running an almusalan (breakfast nook offering cheap porridge and noodles at P5 to P10 per serving) but they had to stop when Quimpo was found to have TB. With Quimpo cured, they are now back in business.

Joel Alluson, 37, a father of two who works as a "freelancer sa Banawe" (he does odd jobs on Banawe Avenue, a car parts retail strip) "graduated" in December 2006 from his six-month daily treatment and is now TB-free. But he still has to have his regular checkup. He first learned about the anti-TB treatment from a TV ad.

The Quimpos and Allusons live in the congested Tatalon area in Quezon City where most houses are cramped, with little breathing space. Infectious diseases like TB spread easily if a sick person remains untreated. A tracking and monitoring system is key. Tatalon barangay volunteer worker Iluminada Basilio does her rounds to check on patients.

By Ma. Ceres P. DoyoPhilippine Daily Inquirer, 03/23/2007
Read more of this article...

See related story "World Stop TB Day" from WHO.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Drug Safety

A man wakes up in the middle of the night with diarrhea, gropes around and takes what he thinks are anti-diarrheal tablets. Next thing you know, he is trying to kill his wife.

Over in Cavite province, men have started making decoctions out of a popular ornamental called coral plant, supposedly to enhance their virility. Yet, as early as 1921, Leon Maria Guerrero, an authority on Philippine medicinal plants, already wrote about the plant being a dangerous cathartic, meaning it causes severe diarrhea. In another botany book, "Burkill's Dictionary of Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula," I found out that the plant was used for "criminal poisoning" in Latin America.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that there are some 2 million serious adverse drug reactions (ADRs) each year in the United States, leading to about 100,000 fatalities and making ADRs the fourth leading cause of death in the country.

We don't have estimates on such cases and fatalities in the Philippines, but I am certain they are quite high. There are probably cases where people die of the medicines they were taking, without the family ever realizing it. Many medicinal plants, for example, have low levels of the dangerous substances, but these can accumulate; so even the persons taking the decoctions may not know they are being slowly poisoned.

The causes of ADRs in the country include carelessness among health professionals, a lack of health literacy among Filipinos, inadequate instructions on drug products, and unclear advice from health providers. I'd say, even the barrage of drug advertising, by proclaiming particular medicines as safe­when in fact, no drug, not even your "ordinary" pain-killers, not even your medicinal plants, is truly safe­contributes to ADRs.

By Michael L. Tan, Pinoy Kasi colum in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 16, 2007

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Int’l survey: Filipinos most aware of global warming

Filipinos with access to the Internet are among the people most aware of global warming, according to a survey by a multinational consumer research group.

The AC Nielsen “Online Consumer Opinion Survey,” conducted last November, covered 25,408 Internet users from 47 countries and territories in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

The survey found that 94 percent of the 503 respondents from the Philippines had heard or read about global warming.

Only 13 percent of the American respondents said they were aware of global warming.

Seventy-six percent of the Filipinos said they thought global warming was “a very serious problem.” It was the highest percentage of those who said so in the Asia Pacific region and the fifth in the world after the Brazilians, the French and the Portuguese.

Moreover, half of the Filipinos polled thought human activities were to blame while 4 percent attributed the problem to natural changes in climate.

Forty-six percent pointed to both human activities and natural factors. One percent said they did not know.

Read full text from the Philippine Daily Inqurer, March 7, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

WHO Core Health Indicators

The World Health Organization (WHO) online database provides the latest Core Health Indicators from WHO. With this system, you can find the most recent indicator information (for example, contraceptive prevalence rate, antenatal care coverage, deaths due to HIV/AIDS) in most countries around the world. Additionally, the system also allows you easily construct a table for any combination of countries, indicators and years.

You can access this excellent resource at: http://www3.who.int/whosis/core/core_select.cfm

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sexuality Research and Information Needs Assessment

Last October, HAIN conducted a research entitled, "Sexuality Research and Information Needs Assessment (SRINA)." SRINA was conceptualized to further enhance existing SSPRF and HAIN efforts in addressing research information needs, access and use. The main objective is to further understand the context of gender and sexuality as it affects health and other organizations for national policy and program development.

A total of eighteen organizations were visited in five Southeast Asia countries which include Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and the Philippines. The organizations were from the academe, government and non-government organizations. Some of them are involved in research, social marketing, interventions and information work.

The country visits looked at the research information needs of organizations working on gender and sexuality and related fields such as population and HIV and AIDS. It also looked at how and where these institutions access information related to gender and sexuality. The research identified the problems in accessing information by the different organizations. Priority research topics and skills training needs were also identified (i.e. on the use of Internet and other information technologies. One important point that was raised by the research is how to make information available, usable and accessible for others.

This project was funded by the Social Science and Philosophy Research Foundation (University of the Philippines) and the Ford Foundation.

For more information about the research, feel free to contact us at HAIN.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Migration of Health Professionals: Boon or Bane?

The migration of health professionals is not an entirely new phenomenon, but the latest wave is producing a more pronounced adverse impact on source countries due to the unusually high number of migrating health professionals.In the Philippines, 85 percent of registered nurses are working abroad. The demand has also spawned a phenomenon unique to the Philippines: doctors are leaving their profession to become nurses.

There is an estimated 4,000 Filipino doctors who are currently enrolled in nursing course. In Fiji, the number of registered nurses leaving for jobs abroad exceeds the number of new nursing graduates. According to Fiji Nursing Association secretary-general Kuini Lutea, the Pacific island produces between 150 to 160 new nursing graduates, but almost 50 percent of these are migrating to other countries.Doctors are also prime labor export. India is currently the top exporter of doctors; there are more Indian doctors in America than in India. The ratio of Indian doctors to American patients is 1:1325, while the ratio of Indian doctors to Indian patients is 1:2400. Pharmacists, medical technologists, and other allied medical professionals are also in demand.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Code blue for global health

Given the technological advances in the field of medicine, the possibilities for a healthy population are endless. However, given the current scenario, all these would remain just that – possibilities.

Communicable diseases
The prevalence of communicable diseases is a key social determinant as its occurrence is often concentrated in poor countries where sanitation, access to health care facilities, and nutrition are often problematic.

Tuberculosis, for example, remains to be a public health concern in most developing nations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1/3 of the world’s population is infected with TB bacillus. In 2004, the Southeast Asian region recorded the highest number of new cases, accounting for 33 percent of recorded cases. The sub-Sahara African region, meanwhile, had the highest per capita incidence estimated at 400 cases per 100,000 population.

WHO also put to 1.7 million the number of deaths caused by TB. While highlighting the need for a comprehensive TB program, the report also put a positive spin on the control of the disease. It noted that in five out of six WHO regions, TB incidences were either stable or falling. The exception was sub-Saharan South Africa where the rising incidence of HIV/AIDS contributes to the growing number of TB cases.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

National Consultation on the HIV M&E System Conducted

As part of Strengthening the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) System of the Philippine AIDS Response, PNAC, HAIN, and HDII organized the National Consultation (NatCon) on the HIV M&E System last December 4-5, 2006 at the Pearl Manila Hotel, Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines.

The objectives of the NatCon were:
1. To share experiences and insights on the implementation of the M&E System.
2. To review and develop recommendations to improve the current M&E System.
3. To develop a plan of action on the implementation of the National and Local M&E Systems

A total of 66 participants coming from 9 Local AIDS Council pilot sites, PNAC, government agencies, non-government agencies, and development partners attended the NatCon.

The project Strengthening the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) System of the Philippine HIV/AIDS Response has completed a series of consultations and trainings with non-government organizations (NGOs) and Local AIDS Councils (LACs) in institutionalizing Monitoring and Evaluation in the country. Through this project, and with the active participation of selected sites, we were able to pilot test the system. The response from the pilot sites has been very positive and supportive to make this project work in contributing to the country's overall goal to prevent the further spread of HIV infection and to reduce the impact of the disease on individuals, families, and communities.

After the NGOs, LACs and National Agencies have reported their data to the PNAC M&E Unit, the data were collated, analyzed and presented to the NatCon . The NatCon brought together all pilot sites from different regions to share their learnings and experiences in institutionalizing M&E System at the local level. It was also the time to reflect and examine which will work best in institutionalizing M&E System and how to move M&E forward.

The National Consultation
In behalf of Dr. Jean Marc Olive, Chair of UN Theme Group, Dr. R. Velayudhan of WHO gave the welcome remarks. Mr. Zimmbodilion Mosende, UNAIDS M&E Adviser set the NatCon at the global context and on the other hand, Dr. Ferchito Avelino, Director of PNAC Secretariat, at the local context. Ms. Noemi Bayoneta-Leis presented the milestones of the M&E country efforts.

Highlighting the two-day event was the "Data Presentation: Summary of Data Submitted by Pilot Sites." Dr. Jessie Fantone, PNAC M&E Officer, compared the data committed by each site and the actual data received.

Another highlight was the session on the "Reflections on the M&E System." Participants were grouped according to the following LACs, NGOs, and GOs. Development partners (i.e., UN Agencies and Donor community) immersed with the groups to listen and observe on the exchange of insights of the pilot sites. This exercise allowed the pilot sites to review and share their experiences on the whole process of establishing of M&E System. This was also the venue for them to hear about other sites' experiences and views. Recommendations were gathered as well on how to move the M&E forward.

The session on "Data Appreciation: The Cebu Experience" by Dr. Ofelia Saniel of the Asia-Pacific M&E Reference Group (AP-MERG) and Dr. Ilya Abellanosa-Tac-an of Cebu City enlighten more the participants, especially the pilot sites, on the making M&E work for advocacy, program planning, resource mobilization and to achieve the overall vision of Philippine AIDS Response.Equally important was the session on Planning. Results of the planning session will help in developing national M&E plan and in strengthening local M&E efforts.

To know more about HIV M&E System, check www.hain.org/me. For updates on M&E in the Philippines, check the http://www.hivmephilippines.blogspot.com.

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