AMDABiDSS-Health launched to enhance disease surveillance in Mindanao

In an effort to support local government units and their corresponding health systems and agencies in Mindanao, Malayan Colleges Mindanao, in cooperation with the University of the Philippines – Mindanao, have launched the Center for Applied Modeling, Data Analytics and Bioinformatics for Decision Support Systems in Health (AMDABiDSS-Health).

The virtual launch, which representatives from various universities, organizations, and the DOH attended, promoted a deeper collaboration between the academe and public policymakers and leaders. 

AMDABiDSS-Health is the first-ever niche research center in Mindanao that utilizes interdisciplinary quantitative approaches to improve the disease surveillance and mitigation techniques of COVID-19 in the area. 

Research to impact

Scientific research focused on health care has been vital in addressing the effects of the pandemic worldwide. With the establishment of AMDABiDSS-Health, local communities have a better chance to battle the waves of infections that the virus has brought.

Malayan Colleges of Mindanao president and CEO Dr. Dodjie Maestrocampo emphasized the importance of high-quality research in COVID-19 response. He added that research should bridge science and public policy during a crisis. 

The center has four primary disease surveillance research projects that focus. Its first project is PPASTOL, or Predictive Modeling and Viral Phylodynamic Analysis on the Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Disease Outbreaks with considerations for Control and Logistics applied in Mindanao region. 

Headed by Dr. May Anne E. Mata, PPASTOL aims to track, analyze and determine the patterns of infections in a given area. The project enables scientists and public health systems to assess the genetic make-up and mutations of the virus and forecast possible outbreaks.   

Its second is project RESILIEMC, or Risk Management and Enhanced Survival Analysis Integrated through Longitudinal Infectious Disease Data and Statistical Epidemiological Model using Clinical Risk Factors. 

Led by Dr. Gernelyn T. Logrosa, RESILIEMC creates a decision support system (DSS) platform that helps referral hospitals Southern Philippines Medical Center and Davao Regional Medical Center enhance triaging and prioritize intervention systems. It also provides local government units with up-to-date health risk maps. 

AMDABiDSS-Health’s Project VATAS or Vulnerability Assessment Tool: A Decision Support System for Pre-Emptive Preparedness on Emerging Infections Among Animal Reservoir in Urban Green Spaces studies the potential emergence of novel infectious diseases in wildlife. 

Under the leadership of Vonn Carlo P. De la Torre, VATAS utilizes a vulnerability scoring index that helps local government units (LGUs) and organizations devise pre-emptive action focused on wildlife management and other surveillance and environmental policies. 

While the center’s fourth research project is iWAS or Integrated Wastewater-Based Epidemiology and Data Analytics for Community-Level Pathogen Surveillance and Genetic Tracking (iWAS) detects the prevalence of COVID-19 by examining wastewater systems.

Steered by Dr. Lyre Anni E. Murao, iWAS is a complementary surveillance method that enables public health units to pinpoint areas with high infection rates even before being officially reported to the LGU. 

One of the two implementing agencies of AMDABiDSS-Health, Malayan Colleges Mindanao is Mapua University’s branch in Matina, Davao City. Known for its emphasis on technological and academic excellence, Malayan Colleges Mindanao strongly supports various research and scientific efforts.