Written by Arlyn VCD Palisoc Romualdo
The University of the Philippines’ (UP) groundbreaking effort, the “Stop COVID Deaths” webinar series, was recently honored by the US-based International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) with the 2022 Gold Quill Award of Merit. It won under the Communication Management Division in the “COVID-19 Response and Recovery Management and Communication” category.
The IABC Awards Committee told UP Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia in a letter: “Our Gold Quill Blue Ribbon Panel evaluators assessed your entry against the IABC Gold Quill Award criteria and IABC’s Seven-point Scale of Excellence. Your work met this high standard—a great accomplishment!”
The jury assessed that the webinar series “managed to create a movement that has had a major impact on your country not only as it relates to how information is shared amongst frontline medical workers but also in the access that the public has to information that is highly relevant and important to Filipinos.” Further, it stated how “stands out as one that demonstrates how effective and impactful simple, clear and consistent communication can be.”
See the previous article on the UP “Stop COVID Deaths” webinar series’ international win.
According to its website, the Gold Quill is the only program that awards excellence in strategic communication by recognizing communicators’ dedication, innovation, and passion worldwide.
“Stop COVID Deaths” was born soon after WHO’s March 2020 declaration of a pandemic. It was UP’s immediate action from its quickly realized urgency to provide accurate information and share on-the-ground experiences among public and private healthcare practitioners, planners, and managers; scientists in various disciplines; all frontline workers; and the public.
The highly infectious viral disease rapidly spreads worldwide without established treatments or experts. Early COVID-19 knowledge came at a price, from cases of doctors who first succumbed to the disease to the general public. For the Philippines, already crippled by the low supply of health personnel, losing nearly two dozen victims was devastating.
To strengthen the country’s collective action, UP tapped a community of experts, gathering the UP Manila National Institutes of Health (UPM-NIH) and National Telehealth Center (UPM-NTC), and the UP Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) to create the webinar series that TVUP produced and streamed.
Free and openly accessible through UP’s Twitter and TVUP’s YouTube, and Facebook accounts, its first episode, “Clinical Management of COVID Pneumonia,” was shown on April 24, 2020. Streamed at noon every Friday, its 106th episode, “COVID-19 SURGE IN EUROPE: Susunod ba tayo?” (COVID-19 SURGE in EUROPE: Are we next?) was released on July 1, 2022.
Its upcoming webinar this Friday, July 5, will focus on the recommendations by the newly created Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) on COVID-19 boosters and whether or not we need to booster shots against COVID-19. To register for this episode, sign up here.
The complete playlist of “Stop COVID Deaths” webinars is available on TVUP’s YouTube channel.
UP’s co-awardees in the category were Canada’s Region of Peel, Vancouver Coastal Health, and the UK’s London Health Sciences Centre. Other Philippine winners were projects by ABS-CBN, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s Christian Kyle Pascual, Megaworld Foundation, and Meralco.