Secretary Manuel M. Dayrit has a public health career that spans 27 years. A Bachelor of Arts graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University, he earned his Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of the Philippines in 1976. After graduation, he plunged himself into community-based health work in the rural areas of Mindanao. In 1982, taking a break from community work and concurrent teaching activities at the Davao Medical School where he was lecturer, he won a British Council scholarship to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. There, he completed a Master of Science in Community Health with a Mark of Distinction.
In 1984, he joined the Department of Health as a research epidemiologist. For his work in AIDS, cholera and red tide, he was named Outstanding Young Scientist by the National Academy of Science and Technology in 1990.
Secretary Dayrit was involved in a wide range of activities in the Department of Health – among others, the training of field epidemiologists, disease control programs, public information and health advocacy, and the regulation of blood banks and clinical laboratories. He rose to the post of Assistant Secretary in 1992.
He left government in 1997 to join the private sector. He worked with Aetna HMO as Assistant Vice President for Health Services. Later, he joined a pharmaceutical company, United Laboratories, Inc. As Assistant Vice President for Regulatory Affairs.
He has become on of the country’s public health leaders, given the breadth and depth of his experiences in the community, academe and research, government, private sector and international health. Appointed as Secretary of Health on February 19, 2001 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he has led the Department of Health and its partners to new heights of public service.