Dreams, Optimism, Wisdom


Erle Frayne Argonza

From Lima beans to Lima community-based XDR-TB treatment, Lima got it! The exciting news about lessons that we can cull from Lima’s health teachings is that the components of the community-based approach are comprehensive and not just “let me inoculate you Patient so you won’t be vector to your household members and neighbors” sort of dinosaur treatment.

Below is the news about the special TB treatment that Lima shares to us all.

[28 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to SciDev database news.]



We can learn from XDR-TB treatment in Lima

Source: New England Journal of Medicine

11 August 2008 | EN | ES

A nurse prepares TB drugs in Peru

World Lung Foundation

A new report from Lima, Peru, offers hope for tackling extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) in the developing world, says Mario C. Raviglione in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The report shows that with “aggressive and appropriate” management, XDR-TB can be cured in most cases.

Raviglione highlights some of the factors that may have contributed to Peru’s success in treating the disease. All patients were given systematic drug-susceptibility tests and were treated with powerful second-line drugs, including a fluoroquinolone and an injectable drug. Where necessary, treatment regimens were reinforced with known effective drugs.

Strict community-based supervision was enforced, comprising psychological support, nutritional support and financial incentives. Additionally, intense bacteriological and clinical monitoring allowed for readjustments where necessary.

Raviglione believes that applying such an approach on a more global scale would help minimise, and effectively manage, drug resistance.

“In 2008, scaling up is indeed the major challenge faced by most complex health interventions worldwide … Effectiveness of a complex intervention depends on coordinated work among all forces.”

Link to full article in The New England Journal of Medicine



Erle Frayne Argonza

Magandang umaga! Good morning!

We’ve known Costa Rica all along as a peace-advocating country. As an exemplar of peace-keeping, it abolished its national army and confines peace & order functions to its domestic police.

Here is a welcome news about innovations being boosted in the peace-keeping nation. Our developing countries should better look up to Costa Rica for this combination of peace-sustenance with innovations and should study following the ‘Costa Rica way’.

Happy reading.

[23 July 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to the SciDev database/news.]


Costa Rica: ¿cómo subirse al tren de la innovación?

Alejandra Vargas

25 may 2008 | ES

Oscar Arias, presidente de Costa Rica, durante la presentación del documento

Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología

[SAN JOSE] A pesar de que en Costa Rica hay dinero, personal capacitado y recursos tecnológicos suficientes para innovar, su índice en este campo es de los más bajos de América Latina.

Teniendo en cuenta este escenario, ocho expertos del país prepararan el llamado Atlas para la Innovación en Costa Rica, para hacer un diagnóstico de la situación. El reporte –lanzado este mes (6 de mayo) y sometido durante todo este mes a consulta popular– reveló errores y retos que le esperan a Costa Rica, si quiere subirse al tren del desarrollo.

El reporte señala que los recursos existentes para la innovación en Costa Rica son dispersos, intermitentes, rígidos e insuficientes.

Según el documento, el país carece de una cuantificación adecuada del gasto y la inversión que requiere para implementar la innovación. Esta indefinición impide diseñar y aplicar efectivamente los incentivos financieros, fiscales, legales y ambientales para promover el proceso.  

Para erradicar estas faltas, el Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología (Micit) propuso, en la ceremonia de lanzamiento del reporte,la creación de una Comisión para la Innovación, que justamente pueda evaluar aún mejor qué es lo sucede en el país y el mundo y cuya misión sea proponer ideas claras para que los políticos tomen decisiones ágilmente.

Esa comisión decidirá cómo y dónde se encaminan los esfuerzos y el dinero y creará un marco regulado de incentivos que fomentará la creación de empresas financiadas por capital de riesgo.

El Atlas para la innovación también apuesta por la creación de más incubadoras de empresas y sugiere la formación de asesores y gestores para la agilización de los procesos de innovación en pequeñas y medianas entidades.

Esto tiene como objetivo que exista un acompañamiento real de las PYMES hasta ver resultados en el mercado mundial.

“Costa Rica es aún un país con un bajo esfuerzo en innovación tecnológica, lo que nos obliga a impulsar un cambio profundo. Es preciso reorganizar un sistema de ciencia y tecnología que debe evolucionar en el tiempo, que debe ser ágil, flexible y ajustable a los cambios de entorno”, dijo Eugenia Flores, jerarca del Micit, durante la presentación del documento.

“En los últimos 25 años, del aumento total de la producción mundial, el 88 por ciento proviene de mejoras en las tecnologías y solo el 12 por ciento proviene de la expansión de los sistemas de producción vigentes. Esto encierra una advertencia que no podemos ignorar: o nos involucramos, todos, en el proceso de potenciar la innovación en Costa Rica, o nuestro país será cada vez menos competitivo”, sentenció Oscar Arias, presidente de Costa Rica, en la ceremonia.

Para Gabriel Macaya, director de la Academia Nacional de Ciencia, “la innovación es un tema que nos encontramos en muchas propuestas y análisis que ya se han hecho en el país. Espero que se den los medios para que los sectores involucrados comiencen a trabajar y avancemos.”

Enlace al documento completo 



Bro. Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Banal, Boomboom, and Penalosa just won their respective fights in boxing stints held in Manila just last Sunday. What an impeccably impressive record!  

Add these wins to the strings of victories of other boxers led by the unbeatable Manny Pacquiao, and one can see that this euphoria over boxing triumphs has been a well sustained campaign for nigh close to a decade now. The Philippines had without doubt emerged as a world-class performer in boxing’s lower weight divisions, nay as the top in fact, dethroning Mexico and shaming Thailand that used to be in this class too.

And that’s not the end of the line yet, fellows. PI’s triumph is no ‘bubble victory’ that had reached a dead end and is about to crush back to ground zero, for Christ’s sake that’s a damn faulty perception of the matter. What might emerge from this sustained campaign is that in all the lower weight divisions, from 140 lbs down, Pinoy’s would be champs for at least another decade to come. Mark this well: the world has now shifted its eye on those divisions away from the higher weight divisions.

Should that be the case, then indeed there will be enormous celebrations at the end of this decade and next’s. These victories are simultaneously happening as the economy has been sustaining victories since 2002 yet, with indications that RP might make it to the finish line of ‘developed economies’ by 2015 and ‘1st world’ by 2020 thru 2025.

For the hoi poilloi, professionals, executive and business classes, the boxing ascent of PI comes as an impeccable respite from the dirt coming from out of ceaseless political turmoil here. Just recently, the country has been going through turbulence arising from corruption-related scandals, with the ZTE deal detonating the chain reaction of events. The aggrieved civil society groups want no less than the resignation of the President Gloria Arroyo, and their concerted actions have captured the global media since Valentine’s.

Amid all the sonorous calls for upheavals, boxing triumphs come, easily tilting the balance of public perception back towards optimism from the gloom of the turmoil. And this should be so, as the end of 2007 saw, per result of the Social Weather Stations survey, that over 60% of Pinoys are optimistic about their future. Victories like what we have in boxing bring our psyche aligning back to the good vibes of optimism.

Among those we Filipinos dream optimistically is the final end to insurgency with the permanent muzzling of all guns via political settlements, and sadly, this hasn’t been happening yet. But we are optimistic this will happen. Nothing can darken the prospect of this victory for peace.

But look at the warring forces when boxing fights come, most specially those Pacquiao fights: they completely stop from shooting each other in order to watch boxing. What a spectacle to behold! Not even the United Nations can make our contending forces cease fire, but just one Pacquiao is so powerful a figure enough to make everyone watch the fight including those soldiers and rebels in the boondocks.

Filipinos thirst for victories in many fronts to. After being shamed planet-wise due to failures in the past, even at one time dubbed as ‘sick man of Asia’, we need every victory we can gain and sustain to be able to get us all out of the rut and regain our collective self-esteem as a people with a common vision.

Boxing had been the bridgehead among the competitive sports in providing those victories. Cheers to Philippine boxing!

[Writ 08 April 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]