Researchers of Yeungnam University Medical Center (YUMC), Republic of Korea visited the NEDA Regional Office VI for a courtesy call and brief consultation on the proposed international development cooperation project in Western Visayas.

Dr. Hoo Woong Yoo, Visiting Professor of the Department of Saemaul Studies and International Development, Yeungnam University and Researcher of the YUMC Center for Global Health and Medicine, together with Ms. Young Sook Song, Nurse and member of the YUMC research team met with NEDA-VI OIC-Regional Director Arecio A. Casing, Jr. and OIC-Assistant Regional Director Cynthia C. Lumampao on October 5, 2022 at the NEDA-VI Office.The courtesy visit was coordinated by EnP. August Melody Andong, Senior Economic Development Specialist of Policy Formulation and Planning Division and alumna of Park Chung Hee School of Policy and Saemaul, Yeungnam University.

Mr. Yoo shared that YUMC is conducting a feasibility study (FS) on the proposed establishment of the Department of Public Health and Community Development with a baccalaureate program in West Visayas State University (WVSU).  Upon the completion of the FS this will be submitted to National Research Foundation of Korea and the Korea International Cooperation Agency for possible funding. If the program will materialize this proposed course offering will provide an academically challenging state-of-the art education that will bridge and integrate community development and public health with epidemiology, community health behavior, as well as, health education, planning, administration and environmental sciences.

He further discussed that the project will also include program development and educational design.  An exchange program with Yeungnam University’s Department of Global Health and Development is also a feature of the proposed project. The scope of the feasibility study covers the development of a unique curriculum focusing on public health and community development synergy, as well as the provision of needed capacity building trainings for the WVSU academic staff through enhanced teaching strategies and skills. Aside from offering the baccalaureate program, the project is expected to improve the educational environment in WVSU particularly on the facilities, equipment and learning materials. It will also foster and strengthen the international development cooperation network between Philippines and Korea governments, universities, public health workers and community development practitioners.  The offering of a Public Health and Community Development program in the region’s pioneer medical school will ultimately redound in the improvement of the lives of the people in communities.

OIC-RD Casing provided essential inputs to the conduct of the feasibility study particularly on the region’s demand for community and public health workers in relation to the experiences and observed challenges during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also mentioned the on-going international development cooperation engagements of the region with Korea particularly in the construction of the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project and the proposed Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge.

OIC-ARD Lumampao, on the other hand, thanked YUMC for considering WVSU as the recipient of the project for it will greatly serve the people and future college students in Western Visayas, as well as, the neighboring regions. She also expressed that the successful engagement can also open new scholarship opportunities for government employees and NEDA staffs as well.

Through the coordination of EnP Andong, a meeting between YUMC and WVSU Officials was arranged the following day. The YUMC team met some officials of WVSU led by its Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Ma. Asuncion Christine V. Dequilla and College of Medicine Dean,
Dr. Victor A. Amantillo Jr. After the meeting, a mutual understanding and cooperation between WVSU and YUMC was fostered to support the conduct of the feasibility study. (PFPD VI)