COVID-19 frontliners, kamusta na kayo?

| Written by Celeste Ann Castillo Llaneta

On Friday, 23 April, the University of the Philippines (UP) marks the one-year anniversary of the UP “Stop COVID Deaths” webinar series.

The weekly series, which is held in partnership with the UP Manila NIH National Telehealth Center and in cooperation with the UP Philippine General Hospital (UP PGH), aims to overcome fear, promote good practices, and quickly disseminate to all health practitioners and facilities whatever is the evolving knowledge on management and treatment of COVID-19 based on the experience of the country’s leading clinicians, medical specialists and world-class experts in various fields.

At the time of the series’ first webinar, close to 24 frontline doctors and nurses had already died from COVID-19. Today, over a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have racked up 945,000 cases of COVID-19, with over 16,000 deaths and over 141,000 currently active cases in the Philippines. More than a million overseas Filipino workers have returned, with more than 15,000 testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. Over a year later, the situation appears even grimmer than when it first began.

For Filipino medical and healthcare frontliners, it has been over a year of relentless battling against the virus, of caring for patients, and risking their own health and well-being and even their lives. At no other point in time in recent human history have medical and health frontliners been subjected to the trauma of multiple deaths on a daily basis, the inability to comfort or touch patients or their family members, and loss within their own circle of co-workers, if not death in their families.

For its 49th episode, the Stop COVID Deaths webinar series now asks: As our medical and healthcare frontliners move forward and persevere, how are they doing in terms of their own well-being?

In this webinar, UP PGH Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Dr. Anselmo Tronco, will lead the discussion on how frontliners seek and continue to find meaning in serving patients despite the adverse conditions they face. COVID-19 survivor and UP PGH spokesperson, Dr. Jonas del Rosario, will share his personal journey through COVID-19 and back, and how he has coped with the grief of losing both his parents to the pandemic. Mr. Ardie Lopez, who composed the anthem of the webinar (that recently won an award) will speak on his own expression of faith and hope in these difficult times.

The webinar will be opened by Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, with UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita D. Padilla giving the closing remarks.

Registration slots are limited to this special edition of the UP “Stop COVID Deaths” webinar series; so, sign up now at