Public health academic honoured for contribution to central Philippines

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Global health expert Dr Don Prisno from the Department of Public Health at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University has been recognised for his contribution to Tacloban City and the Eastern Visayas region in central Philippines.

He was named as a winner at the 2016 Sangyaw Awards for the work he has been conducting in the area, including bringing world-renowned academics to lecture and hold workshops in Tacloban, and holding the first global health course in Tacloban through the University of the Philippines Manila School of Health Sciences.

Commenting on Dr Prisno’s contribution, a member of the award committee said: “He has contributed much to the City of Tacloban through his continuous work in improving academic excellence and research among the universities in the city.”

Dr Prisno said: “I am elated with the award as I feel the importance of my work is based on how populations look at it. This becomes a reflection and feedback of what I do in my field. This provides me a better understanding on how I approach my further research studies in global health and public health, particularly on health equity with an emphasis on marginalised populations.”

Given by the City of Tacloban and the Sangyaw Foundation, the Sangyaw Awards are an annual recognition of individuals and organisations who have contributed to the development of the City of Tacloban and the islands of Leyte and Samar, which make up the Eastern Visayas region.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the Tzu Chi Foundation of Taiwan, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund and the United States Agency for International Development have all previously been recognised with a Sangyaw Award.

Tacloban City and the Eastern Visayas region has a combined population of 4.5 million people and became well-known globally when super-typhoon Haiyan hit in November 2013. The disaster killed 6,000 people and displaced 3.9 million people from their homes.

Dr Prisno has been conducting a research study on the risk, recovery and resilience of the population after the disaster and has started the groundwork for a Haiyan Resource Centre that will become a repository of information. He was awarded research funding, through the XJTLU Research Development Fund, to conduct research on this particular disaster.

“This research seeks to understand the determinants of risk, recovery and resilience among those affected by the devastating typhoon,” he said. “It will also present the experiences of the vulnerable population focusing on the aged group, as well as the determinants of why people living in high-risk areas decided to remain.”

Aside from his study on the super-typhoon, Dr Prisno has also led initiatives on rural health education as part of the advancement of the United Nation’s Millennium Developments Goals in the area.

This is the second award received by Dr Prisno in 2016 after his global health course, held in Ukraine in January, was named the best event of the year among medical universities in the country.

Dr Prisno’s work in global health and public health has consistently been recognised through a number of prestigious awards given by the World Health Organisation, the International Union for Health Promotion and Education, the International Association for Ecology and Health, Junior Chamber International, and from the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

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