First National Environmental and Occupational Health Forum

Background

The Philippines is experiencing rapid industrialization and urbanization resulting in various environmental and occupational health problems. Among these are deaths attributed to inadequate water supply and sanitation facilities; chronic diseases brought about by air, water and food contamination; general degradation of the environment; and overpopulation. There is recognition that poor appreciation of the relationship among development, environment, and health can only be addressed by informing and engaging stakeholders to enable them to influence environmental and occupational health policies.

The College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila, being the SEAMEO TropMed Regional Centre for Public Health, is in the forefront of capacity-building activities and advocacies for the improvement of the public health landscape in the country. The DEOH contributes to these initiatives by fostering dialogues and discussions, encouraging sharing of information and resources, and promoting collaborative activities among stakeholders to discuss possible solutions to address challenges in the field of EOH.

 

About the First National Environmental and Occupational Health Forum

The First National Environmental and Occupational Health Forum, with the theme “Challenges and Opportunities in Environmental and Occupational Health,” provided a platform for environmental and occupational health practitioners, researchers, policy makers, academicians and students to broaden their knowledge on pressing global and national concerns like climate change, poor occupational health conditions of informal sector workers, problems with the notification system for occupational diseases and injuries, issues on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) in healthcare facilities, indoor air pollution, and carcinogenic potential of fish from Laguna Lake.

The one-day forum was held at the AG New World Manila Bay Hotel. It brought together 137 stakeholders from the Philippines and abroad. UP Manila’s Vice Chancellor for Administration, Dr. Arlene Samaniego, welcomed the participants and guests to the forum on behalf of UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita D. Padilla. Her speech put emphasis on addressing the current environmental and occupational health challenges our country is facing now. This was followed by the keynote speech of Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Ma. Rosario S. Vergeire. Dr. Vergeire said that the developments are inevitably leading to changes in the environment. The changes alert us that our future rely mainly on the decisions and actions that we undertake now and that the failure to address the current concerns related to environmental and occupational health would mean adverse affects for us and the generations to come.

Asec. Vergeire’s keynote speech was followed by a discussion of global and local environmental and occupational health concerns by experts from the World Health Organization-Western Pacific Regional Office and Country Office, University of the Minnesota, First Philippine Holdings Corporation, and the CPH’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. The inclusion of speakers from international agencies and organizations provided global perspectives on environmental and occupational health as well as opportunities that are available to address the most pressing concerns our country is facing today.

 

The topics discussed as well as the profile of speakers of the forum are shown in the Table below.

 

Session 1

CLIMATE CHANGE: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH IN THE 21ST CENTURY Dr. Rokho Kim, Coordinator, Health and Environment, World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Western Pacific

Session 2

CLIMATE CHANGE INDUCED DISASTERS, DISPLACEMENT, AND MENTAL HEALTH

Dr. Hyun Kim, Visiting Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila and Assistant Professor Division of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Minnesota

Session 3

ONE HEALTH AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH

Dr. Bruce Alexander, Professor and Division HeadDivision of Environmental Health SciencesUniversity of Minnesota

Lunch at Market Café, 3rd Floor

Session 4

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH EMERGENCY RESPONSE: SINGLE, MASS CASUALTY, AND DISASTER MEDICAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE STRATEGY OF FIRST PHILIPPINE HOLDINGS CORPORATION

Dr. Joselito L. Gapas, Adjunct ProfessorDepartment of Environmental and Occupational HealthCollege of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila and Occupational and Environmental Health ExecutiveFirst Philippine Holdings Corporation

Session 5

THE NOTIFICATION SYSTEM OF OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES AND INJURIES IN THE PHILIPPINES

Dr. Vivien Fe F. Fadrilan-Camacho, Associate Professor,  Department of Environmental and Occupational HealthCollege of Public HealthUniversity of the Philippines Manila

Session 6

CHALLENGES FOR OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH FROM GLOBALIZATION

Dr. Jorma Rantanen, Former PresidentInternational Commission on Occupational Health and Advisor, World Health Organization

Session 7

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH ACTION PLAN 2018-2022: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial, Adjunct Professor, Department of Health Policy and Administration, College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila

Session 8

POTENTIAL SOURCES OF PARTICULATE MATTER 2.5 IN HOSPITAL INDOOR AIR

Asst. Prof. Rose Abigail D. Enoveso, Department of Environmental and Occupational HealthCollege of Public HealthUniversity of the Philippines Manila

Session 9 

CHALLENGES ON WATER SUPPLY, SANITATION, AND HYGIENE SYSTEMS IN HEALTHCARE FACILITIES 

Dr. Bonifacio B. Magtibay, Adjunct ProfessorDepartment of Environmental and Occupational HealthCollege of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila and Technical Officer on Environmental and Occupational HealthWorld Health Organization – Manila

Session 10

CARCINOGENIC HEALTH RISK OF ARSENIC IN FISH FROM LAGUNA DE BAY

Dr. Victorio B. Molina, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila

Briefing on WHO Initiatives to Address Non-communicable Diseases in Workplaces

 

The forum ended with closing remarks from Dr. Emerito Jose A. Faraon, the Assistant to the Dean for Academic Affairs, who represented Dean Romeo R. Quizon of the College of Public Health.