How can stroke rehab be enhanced in the community healthcare system?

A UK Research and Innovation-National Institute for Health and Care Research-Global Health

Policy Research funded research implemented by the De La Salle University through the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Health Technologies brings together experts from various fields to co- design a community-based self-management stroke rehabilitation manual to empower survivors, carers, and their communities.

Staying true to its mission of leading change and innovation for the Filipino community in the field of healthcare, the De La Salle University-Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Health Technology (DLSU-IBEHT) has been conducting groundbreaking research that underscores collaboration and community empowerment.

DLSU-IBEHT, together with the University of Plymouth, is currently implementing the TULAY (Tulong, Ugnayan ng Lingap at Gabay: Co-designing Philippine Community Physical Rehabilitation) project. This four-year research project in the Philippines is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research–Global Health Policy Research using aid from the UK Government.

Since May 2022, when the TULAY project proposal was accepted for funding, it has evolved into a nationwide initiative that extended its previous goals into something more community-driven and in the service of more Filipinos.

Focusing on the creation of a self-management stroke rehabilitation manual within the community to empower stroke survivors, carers, and their communities, the TULAY project proponents underscore the need to tailor-fit it to the Filipino context, considering cultural variations across the different islands of the country.

The goal of the project is to improve the availability of stroke rehabilitation services and promote resilience and wellbeing among stroke survivors. A lot of Filipinos, especially those residing in remote areas, lack access to basic healthcare and specialized rehabilitation services.

“There are doable solutions to these health service delivery challenges, and with TULAY through the co-design approach, we will be able to craft and implement it together,” says Dr. Sharon Linog, sub-lead for field operations.

Currently in its second year, the TULAY Project has achieved significant milestones that are making a positive impact on stroke management and community healthcare. Since the project launch last February 2023, the proponents have and mobilized a dedicated team that would ensure effective collaboration throughout the project’s execution.

Aside from participating in different training sessions and global conferences, the team from the Philippines also participated in a comprehensive program in London that focused on improving their skills in research, community engagement, and strategic planning.

The TULAY team has visited various communities in the NCR, Region IV-A, Region VI, Region VII, and Region X to introduce the TULAY program and outline the assistance needed from the local government. Community visits are a crucial part of the co-design process, enabling meaningful connections with stakeholders and setting the foundation for collaborative initiatives to create customized solutions for stroke management at the grassroots level.

To date, the project proponents have completed a comprehensive scoping review of existing literature on stroke management, synthesizing key findings to inform the project’s research objectives and methodologies. TULAY was also granted permission by the Single Joint Research Ethics Board (SJREB) to initiate a nationwide data collection and carry out in-depth interviews with patients, carers, and healthcare professionals. These interviews will offer essential qualitative data and narratives needed to begin the co-design process. The data collection is already complete, with more than 2,000 participants providing valuable information for a comprehensive stroke management database in the Philippines. The data gathered is currently being analyzed using different quantitative and qualitative approaches.

These milestones capture the project’s commitment to advancing stroke care through research, community engagement, capacity building, and being the changemakers toward the overarching goals of improving community- based healthcare for the people.

For its next phase, the TULAY program will continue pursuing its research and operational goals and will be prepared to initiate the co- design implementation by late 2024, targeting the six identified implementation sites across the five major regions.


Contact: Dr. Roy Francis Navea | [email protected] | [email protected]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *