SPEED Wins Galing Likha-Kalusugan Award for Health Innovation
6 September 2012 - Taking the lead in improving the health information management in the Philippines, the Department of Health – Health Emergency Management Staff (DOH-HEMS) in partnership with the World Health Organization , was conferred the Galing Likha Kalusugan (GLK) award for SPEED or Surveillance in Post Extreme Emergencies and Disasters, as one of “the best examples of the highest level of innovation in the country’s health marketplace.”
Besting more than 50 other innovations in the country, SPEED garnered the Award of Merit which commends the trailblazing web-based innovation as the world’s first early warning disease surveillance system that has nationwide coverage.
The award was given to SPEED along with PhilHealth LINK and Mother Bles Birthing Clinics as top three winners this year.
GLK is the first and only award that specifically honors ground breaking health programs and initiatives that have made considerable impact on the country’s health system. It is a culmination of a year-long search for the best health system innovations in the Philippines.
GLK is a joint initiative of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and the Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI), an international organization devoted to identifying and replicating innovative health programs around the world funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.
SPEED is recognized for its significant contribution to health in times of catastrophe, specifically for its timely and relevant reporting of health conditions in the evacuation centers and hospitals to prevent secondary disaster like disease outbreaks. It embodies the Filipino’s creative and inventive approach to mitigate impact of calamities to health through the use of short messaging system (SMS) and tight coordination between central, regional and local offices. It is the world’s FIRST post extreme emergency syndromic disease surveillance system that has been rolled out nationwide and included in health emergency preparedness activities of the Department of Health.
SPEED was conceptualized after three major disasters – Ondoy, Pepeng and Santi- flooded the country in 2009. The floodings also caused the biggest Leptospirosis outbreak in the country. This prompted an investigation by the Global Outbreak Alert Response Network (GOARN), which later reiterated the need for an information system after a disaster to report on health conditions.
"What happened in 2009 was a wake up call for us. It caught many health workers off-guard, because they too were victims of the flood," said Dr Carmencita Banatin, Director of the Health Emergency Management Staff (HEMS) of the DOH, “ we decided to do something and improve monitoring health conditions post disaster and asked the WHO to help us put in place a surveillance system through SMS or texting. ”
Dr Soe Nyunt-U, WHO Representative in the Philippines , also recognizes the need for an efficient information system on the ground. “Health managers need to act quickly based on reliable data to prevent a secondary disaster from happening .”
Now two years later, SPEED has been activated during major disasters in the country and is currently being used in evacuation centers, health centers, hospitals in regions NCR, III and IV A to report on the health conditions of populations affected by the floods brought about by the enhancement of the southwest monsoon.
SPEED is a collaboration between the Department of Health and the World Health Organization with major funding support from Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). Other donors during the development phase were Government of Finland and USAID.
Being awarded the Galing Likha Kalusugan award is a testament to all the hard work, sweat and ingenuity of the Filipino people. SPEED is one innovation that will not only empower the health managers but already it has brought information system to the next level : harnessing technology for a noble cause.