Philippines National Telehealth Center Leverages Innovative Open Solutions to Provide Equitable Access to Quality Healthcare

Priyankar Bhunia | Open Gov Asia | March 21, 2017

Dr. Portia F. Marcelo takes us through the NTHC journey which is intertwined with growth in the use of ICT for healthcare in the Philippines.

OpenGov had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Portia Grace Fernandez-Marcelo, Director of the UP (University of Philippines) Manila-National Telehealth Center (NTHC) about using ICT to provide equitable access to quality healthcare for all, specially in isolated and disadvantaged communities. NTHC is one of the pioneers in the Philippines developing cost-effective ICT tools and innovations for improving healthcare and deploying solutions in communities where they are required most urgently. The Center partners with various government and non-government institutions  in the areas of eMedicine, eRecords, eSurveillance, eLearning and eHealth Policy Advocacy, .

Dr. Portia F. MarcelloDr. Marcelo has occupied the position of Director at NTHC since 2011. She has extensive experience and deep expertise in community medicine and global health, and is concurrently an Associate Professor at UP Manila’s College of Medicine Department of Family and Community Medicine since 1993.

Can you provide us a bit of background on the NTHC?

In the late 90s, there was an emerging desire to connect with communities online. NTHC was established in 1998, as a means for UP Manila to reach out across the 7,107 islands of the Philippines, looking at new ways of supporting health professionals and engaging with communities, going beyond the conventional physical face-to-face events. NTHC is the e-Health research and development institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH [1]), which is also part of UP Manila.