Sunday, November 30, 2008

Asian Health Communications Forum

HAIN, in collaboration with Healthlink Worldwide, conducted a "Regional Forum on Increasing Access to Practical Health Information" last November 27-28, 2008 at the Bayview Park Hotel in Manila.

The forum aimed to examine the impact of Health Alert and learning from the magazine; identify issues and challenges faced in health communication and ways of addressing these; and to build networks or determining ways of linking with existing networks to continue learning and sharing.

At the forum, HAIN executive director, Dr. Edelina dela Paz, presented the curent health situation in the region. The 20 participants from Philippines, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and China have also exchanged insights and shared among each other their organizational and individual experiences in providing health information to the people.

The Health Alert Asia Pacific newsletter, published by HAIN since 2003, provides up-to-date, relevant and accurate health information for health, community and education workers in Asia and the Pacific. It is being distributed to more than 50 countries.

From the discussions, it showed that Health Alert has been utilized to brought some issues to the fore which might have been ignored otherwise. Obviously the issues would be relevant too to the Asia Pacific region, but it is also possible to relate
the issues happening in other parts of the world. Health Alert puts that in context.

Deepthi Wickermasinghe of Healthlink Worldwide (UK)discussed the new technologies in health communication which can be useful in our region. She also shared knowledge of the tools and online resources that they are using in London.

The session on country sharing highlighted the challenges faced by different organization, such as the difficulty of working simultaneously as an advocate and information provider, or the sustainability of a network.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New publication: Revisiting USOG, PASMA, KULAM

by Michael L. Tan

This book looks at folk illness in the Philippines including, as the title suggests, usog, pasma, and kulam. Rather than looking at these folk illnesses as "superstitions," Tan explains the boarder social and cultural contexts of these concepts. He discusses these illnesses according to their perceived causes, broadly grouping them into three clusters, mystical, personalistic, and naturalistic.

Tan uses different social science perspectives to explore the deeper meanings of these illnesses, including their links to social norms, tensions, and conflicts. He emphasizes, too, that far from being static, these folk illnesses continue to evolve, influenced by Western medicine as well as new images surrounding health and illnesses that come with mass media and advertising. Finally, he calls attention to a medical ecological perspective, looking at how our changing relationships with the natural environment also lead to modifications in the folk illnesses.

Besides reviewing the extensive social science studies that have been conducted on these folk illnesses, Tan also refers to the more limited, but still significant, biomedical studies that explore some of these illnesses, for example, bangungot, showing that theses syndromes often have a physiological basis and needed to be
recognized by health professionals.

For more information on how to acquire/purchase the publication
Please contact: University of the Philippines Press los Santos St., UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City
Telephone no: 9282558; 9253243
Cost: P190.00

New publication: Medicinal Fruits & Vegetables

by Jaime Galvez Tan & Ma. Rebecca M. Galvez Tan

Medicinal Fruits and Vegetables features sixty of the most commonly available and vegetables traditionally used as both food and medicine. Each fruits and vegetables is detailed according to its botanical family, scientific name, nomenclatures in different languages and Filipino dialects, traditional medicine uses, contemporary research findings, food and nutrition values, recommended medicinal use, and botanical and agricultural characteristics. There are also helpful, easy to follow instruction on how to prepare medicinal plants at home by transforming them into decoctions, infusions, syrups, herbal baths, oils, and alcohol extracts.

Evidence-based medicine has proven that daily intake of fruits and vegetables prevents many chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension and cancer. Their generous consumption contributes to the slowing down of the aging process. Aside from the micronutrients, all fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of powerful vitamins, minerals, phythochemicals and anti-oxidants. The healing benefits of fruits and vegetables that our forefathers, grandmothers and traditional healers imparted to us are now being scientifically proven as truly efficacious.

This book aims to encourage a second look at fruits and vegetables. They are excellent functional foods and are safe and effective medicines as well. Fruits and vegetables are also our natural living assets and Gods gifts for total health, wellness, and well-being.

For more information on how to acquire the publication
Please contact: Health Futures Foundation, Inc.
1086 Del Monte Ave., Quezon City

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Setting RH Advocacy to the Media

Health Action Information Network (HAIN) has recently conducted the “News for a Change: RH Advocates’ Training-Workshop on Writing for Media” in collaboration with IIE-LDM and with support from IFPLP-Packard Foundation.

Twenty RH advocates from Metro Manila, Visayas and Mindanao joined the training. This trained aimed at the following objectives:

 To increase the knowledge and understanding of the interplay and complexities between religious history, theology, arguments, policies, issues and practices surrounding reproductive rights and health,
 To sharpen advocacy messages on RH,
 To strengthen RH advocates skills on writing for media, and
 To consolidate and build solidarity among information officers creating a network of writers’ pool and public speakers.

The workshop started with a “Walking Tour” in Intramuros headed by Carlos Celdran where he offered a historical perspective on the country’s colonial past which continues to influence the social, moral, and religious mores.

Connecting the past to present, Ms. Dulce Natividad (Women’s Health Care Foundation) discussed how the country’s past policies and programs influence the present RH situation and advocacy.

Afterwards, the participants Vigie Benosa (PLCPD) and Rikki Trinidad (HAIN) gave an overview of the present situation of RH, the issues it faced, and how these issues were covered by mass media. Atty. Carolina “Carol” Ruiz-Austria shared tips on blogging sexual rights and reproductive health.

Writing for media was the focus of the second day’s training-workshop. There were two resource speakers: Luz Rimban and Yvonne “Bon” Chua, both acclaimed journalists from VERA Files.

Rimban dug into the different forms and the reality of media: print, television, radio, and Internet; the people working behind news reporting; what makes news newsworthy; and the audience. She introduced what press release is, how it differs from press statement and media advisory, and most importantly, its usefulness in promoting the advocacy.

Chua recalled her experience of attending press conferences conducted by NGOs and used them as samples in her discussion on Media Tools: How to Start your Information System. She tackled the proper ways of putting up one fruitful press conference while giving so much emphasis on the importance of understanding the schedule of invited journalists. She also presented the “standard format” for writing press releases starting from punctuation marks to delivery via e-mail.

The room was divided into two groups wherein each participant was asked to present her/his output for critiquing. This workshop helped the participants have the chance to spot and correct the committed errors.

At the end of the day, the participants shared the lessons they obtained and how they could use and integrate them in their chosen professions.

On the third last day Frank Cimatu (Philippine Daily Inquirer-Baguio) helped the participants critiqued the presented blog articles which were homework from Day 1 of the workshop.

At the end of the workshop, the group decided to create a group blogsite where they would post RH articles and updates from their work.

Training-Workshop on Research Methods for RH

HAIN conducted the 14th short course on Research Methods on October 6-17 at teh Supreme Hotel in Baguio City.

Twenty-three participants from NCR, Baguio, Bohol, Iloilo, Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro joined the two-week training workshop.

The training-workshop aimed to build research capabilities of the participants to enable them to strengthen their programs on sexual and reproductive health.

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