MANILA – The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development has approved a telepsychiatry project for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said Monday.

The project, "Acceptability of Telepsychiatry among Overseas Filipino Workers in Kuwait" proposed by a researcher from Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), aims to establish and evaluate an overseas telepsychiatry programming Kuwait to provide immediate mental health services to the OFWs, he said in a message.

"The project will build upon the previously developed telepsychiatry software and program deployed in Cagayan de Oro, which has been proven successful in the provision of psychiatric services," he added.

"This is not yet finalized, but the proposal was submitted for the 2021-2022 Call for Proposals," dela Peña told the PNA, adding that the number of daily targets is still being planned by the research team.

As of the current revision of the proposal, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will only assist in the recruitment of participants, according to dela Peña.

The participants could avail of the telepsychiatry consultation at their respective OWWA offices in Kuwait, he added.

Psychiatrists based in the Philippines, particularly those from SPMC, would do the psychiatric consultation, diagnosis, and treatment.

The DOST does not have the estimated number of doctors who would be part of this project, as the data is still being planned by the research team, dela Peña said.

Meanwhile, dela Peña said the research team has been coordinating with concerned agencies, such as OWWA, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Department of Health, to streamline the roles and activities of each agency in this project.

The project has a proposed timeline of one year, he said. (PNA)