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UPV teams dominate Unilab Ideas Positive Run 6, wins grand prize

Unilab Ideas Positive is an annual nationwide youth competition of the Unilab Foundation that selects and funds innovative community health projects towards promoting a healthier Philippines. The Unilab Ideas Positive Run 6 was dominated by teams from UP Visayas. A total of 148 youth teams submitted proposals and 4 out of 6 teams made it to the top 15 and 3 of the 4 made it to the top 5. Team PH Cares of UP Visayas was declared the Grand Champion of the competition on August 12, 2016 at the Bayanihan Center, Mandaluyong City. Team Sinag (a team composed of UP College of Medicine and UPV students) was 3rd place and Team Grin Movement was in 5th place. These teams were mentored by Dr. Philip Ian Padilla, faculty member of the Division of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, UPV and the current UP Faculty Regent. Dr. Calvin de los Reyes and Dr. Marilyn Sumayo of UPCM, and Mr. Rommel Gestuveo of the Division of Biological Sciences, CAS, UPV served as the co-advisers.

Team PH Cares that won first place is composed of BS Public Health students namely, Romena Castor, Bea Marisse Daayata, Carl Laurence Deala, Krisleen Marie Mayormita, and Maulene Mae Namuag .Their community health project entitled, “Oplan 4Ks: Kaakibat Kontra Kuto sa Kabataan” was able to eradicate pediculosis or lice infestation in more than 500 elementary school children in Miagao West Central Elementary School. Their innovative health solution to this neglected public health problem included the creation of a comic book that tells the story of lice infestation and why children with this condition should not be bullied. They conducted storytelling events and hygiene lectures during the 6-month duration of their project.

The team partnered with Deborah Altschuler and the National Pediculosis Association, Inc. based in Massachusetts, USA in distributing Lice Meister combs in their “Kontra Kuto Kits” to families of the school children. Other than conducting health campaigns to the school and the neighboring communities, the team also conducted free hair cut sessions and “hairobics”, a new way of exercising that highlights the importance of hair hygiene.

As part of the community immersion of the BS Public Health program of the University, Team PH Cares was joined by other BS Public Health students namely, Jessa dela Cruz, Angela Joy Fernandez, Stephen Miayo, and Raymee Tabobo. With the added manpower, the team was able to reach more affected children in their chosen community.

“ONE Tacayan for ZERO Filariasis” was the project of the 3rd place winner Team SINAG. The team is led by Clovers alumni, now UP Manila College of Medicine students Leonard Tan and Chelsea Kamille Fandiñola and UPV students Adrian Bernard Dofitas, Gian Justin Simpani, and Judy Angela Carmela Parreñas. Their project targeted filariasis, a mosquito-borne parasitic infection causing disability among Bukidnon indigenous people of Brgy.Tacayan, Tapaz, Capiz.

The 5th spot was won by Team Grin Movement composed of BS Public Health students, Francine Nicole Araneta, Vivienne Endoma, Karla Mae Magsipoc, Karmela Marie Samoro, and Rigel Kent Villaruel with their project on dental hygiene entitled, “Project NINK (Ngiping Inaalagaan Para sa Nakangiting Kabataan). With the help of other BS Public Health students Valerie Anne Bebita, Marvyn Kerziel Estanda, Mary Pauline Kriszl Gupeteo, Billy John Lebosada, and Kimberly Pabello, they were able to prevent new cases of dental caries among school children in Brgy. Buenavista Elementary School in Tubungan, Iloilo during their project implementation.

Another UPV BS Public Health Team national finalist that made it to the Top 15 was Team Dugong Bughaw is composed of Jasper Ruby Vijar, Alexis Rey Penetrante, Anjelou Marie Estrella Abigail Amon, Geeza Gem Vicencio, Jenn Margarette Bordon, and Julius Nafarrete, Jr. with their “Project High Five” that promoted HIV/AIDS awareness through youth involvement in the different colleges and universities of Iloilo City.

This is the fourth year in a row that UPV BS Public Health teams have qualified to the grand finals. The faculty of the Division of Biological Sciences expressed their hope that more BS Public Health and BS Biology students and other teams from UPV will join the next run of the competition and help promote a healthier Philippines. (By: Rommel J. Gestuveo)

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