University of Philippines Manila

Sustainability of social innovation and research initiatives toward universal health coverage

University of the Philippines (UP) Manila National Institutes of Health (NIH) Executive Director Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-de la Paz underscored the value of mainstreaming social innovation in health in the university in her participation in the Social Innovation in Health Initiative’s (SIHI) Global Partners’ Meeting 2023 on November 8-10, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. 

As part of a panel discussion on mainstreaming social innovation in health in the Philippines, Dr. Cutiongco-de la Paz said that social innovation aligns with UP’s focus on integrating community engagement and participatory development. She added that one of the ways that social innovation can be mainstreamed is by establishing an institute on social innovation and entrepreneurship at the NIH, where interdisciplinary collaborations on research, capacity building, and convening of stakeholders at various levels of the Philippine health system can take place. 

Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, who was part of the same panel, shared as well how PCHRD provides recognition, mentorship and technical assistance for social innovators in the Philippines through the Gelia Castillo Award for Research on Social Innovations in Health, a program which has been running since 2020.  

The SIHI Global Partners’ Meeting 2023 carried the theme, “Sustainability of social innovation and research initiatives toward universal health coverage,” and kicked off SIHI’s 10th year anniversary celebration. It included several panel discussions and strategic conversations on enhancing sustainability of social innovation initiatives in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. It convened over 30 SIHI partners which represented 13 SIHI country research hubs and various contributing partners. 

SIHI is a global network of research institutions and individuals that advance social innovation towards improving healthcare delivery, especially in low and middle-income countries. SIHI is able to do its work with support from TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Disease, co-sponsored by UNDP, UNICEF, the World Bank and WHO. TDR also receives additional funds from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to support SIHI.

The SIHI hub in the Philippines and the SIHI global secretariat, both initially led by the late Dr. Noel Juban, are hosted at the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, College of Medicine, UP Manila. 

– Social Innovation in Health Initiative 

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