New Projects on Tobacco Consumption, Security in Old Age, and Mental Health Promotion Being Conducted at SDRC



Topics that are of urgent concern in the Philippines today—namely interventions to modify smoking behavior, guaranteeing a universal social pension, and the promotion of mental health—are currently being studied in the latest projects undertaken at the Social Development Research Center. The first project, entitled “Developing/Adaptation and Pilot Testing of Culturally Appropriate Content (SMS-based Text Messages) that will be Utilized to Implement the mCessation Intervention in the Philippines,” is led by Center Director Dr. Maria Caridad Tarroja. It involves the development/adaptation and pilot testing of culturally appropriate content (SMS-based text messages) that will be utilized to implement the mCessation intervention in the Philippines. The finalization of the mobile-based text message will involve referring to the mCessation Planning and Implementation Guide as well as existing literature, and taking into consideration the different stages of behavior change, levels and types of tobacco consumption, to ensure that the content is suitable for implementation in the Philippine context.  The study is funded by the World Health Organization.  

Meanwhile, Dr. Roberto Javier, Jr. leads the research team for the “Qualitative Analysis on the Feasibility of a Universal Social Pension in the Philippines,” supported  by HelpAge International and the Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE). This study aims to contribute to the assessment based national dialogue (ABND) process by exploring in more depth the options for guaranteeing income security in old age to all Filipinos. It looks into the development of a social protection floor in the Philippines by focusing on what the rationale of establishing a universal pension system would be, both in terms of addressing the specific risks associated with old age, and contributing to sider social and economic development; what the most feasible options for building a universal pension system are, how affordable these are, and how these could be financed.

Dr. Tarroja also heads the last study, “Review of the Status of Mental Health Promotion in the Western Pacific Region,” which involves an exhaustive and systematic desk review on mental health promotion activities in the 37 Member States belonging to the Western Pacific Region. The review, being conducted through another grant from the World Health Organization, covers an online library search of various search engines (such as EBSCO and PsycLIT), using search terms such as mental health definitions, mental health promotion, programmes for mental health, cultural/indigenous practices for mental health; a library search of different books, publications, magazines and articles that tackle the above mentioned topics; and a review of different mental health promotion projects/strategies of the 37 member states, through an online search as well as through a website search of the Department or Ministry of Health of the different countries.  The output of the review will be a report on a framework that can be used for mental health promotion.