UP holds “Stop COVID Deaths: Clinical Management Updates” webinar for healthcare frontliners

| Written by Celeste Ann Castillo Llaneta


The University of the Philippines continues its mission to help educate our country’s medical and healthcare workers and frontliners, enabling them to win the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic through the sharing of information, research, experience, and expertise.

The latest of such endeavor from UP is the series of Zoom meeting-webinars dubbed “Stop COVID Deaths: Clinical Management Updates”, organized by UP, in partnership with the UP Manila National Telehealth Center and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The first of this webinar series, held last April 24, focused on the “Clinical Management of COVID Pneumonia”, and featured heads of national and international medical associations and research units and professors of the UP College of Medicine as speakers. [Watch the recording of the webinar here]


A graphic from Dr. Roa’s lecture showing the pattern of disease progression for COVID-19, with most recoveries by patients showing mild to moderate symptoms happening within 3-6 weeks, and most deaths for COVID-19 patients with severe to critical symptoms happening within 2-8 weeks due to acute respiratory failure, sepsis, or hospital acquired infections. Screenshot from the “Stop COVID Deaths: Clinical Management Updates” replay.


The first speaker, Dr. Camilo Roa, Global Governor of the American College of Chest Physicians and past president of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians, presented an overview of the clinical management of patients. He noted that while most of COVID-positive patients have mild to moderate symptoms, around 20% have severe or critical symptoms. Factors such as age and co-morbidities such as cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes and cancer affect one’s chances of dying from COVID-19, and as yet, there is no proven antiviral treatment for the disease. Thus, for healthcare workers, managing patients means supporting the patient’s immune system as it battles the disease, watching out for critical developments such as hospital acquired infections or other complications, and to use drugs with compassionate purpose and the informed consent of the patient.


A slide from Dr. Wang’s lecture, showing the various COVID-related research initiatives of the UPM-PGH COVID-19 Research Initiative Program. Screenshots from the Stop COVID Deaths: Clinical Management Updates” replay.


The second lecture was delivered by Dr. Aileen David Wang of the UP College of Medicine’s Department of Medicine. She stressed the critical role that research plays in the global fight against the pandemic, reflecting lessons from past epidemics. Research, such as those being done by the UP Manila-Philippine General Hospital (UPM-PGH) COVID-19 Research Initiative Program and on a global scale, the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial, is needed to find a antiviral treatment for the disease, to help hospitals cope with the influx of COVID patients, and to come up with strategies to deal with the pandemic at the medical, psychosocial, and socioeconomic levels. Research based on a combination of randomized controlled trials and real-world evidence will be key to winning the global war against COVID-19.


A slide from Dr. Fernandez’ lecture showing a revised algorithm for the respiratory management of COVID-Patients. Screenshot from the “Stop COVID Deaths: Clinical Management Updates” replay.


Finally, Dr. Leonora Fernandez, head of the UPM-PGH Division of Pulmonary Medicine, spoke about a critical aspect in the management of COVID patients. She cited findings that show that COVID patients who end up on mechanical ventilators have a higher chance of dying from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Instead, she recommends a new approach in ventilator therapy for COVID-19: the non-invasive high flow nasal canula (HFNC) oxygen therapy, which in combination with the strategy of self-proning, can improve the outcomes for a COVID patient.



The highly successful webinar drew in more than 180 participants. The second webinar in the series will be held tomorrow, May 1, 2020 (Friday), at 12:00 noon (Manila time), and will focus on infectious diseases and fighting and controlling the spread of an infection such as COVID-19. Speakers will be Dr. Regina P. Berba, head of the PGH Infection Control Unit and faculty of the UP College of Medicine, and Dr. Marie Yvette Barez, chair of the Infection Prevention and Control Unit, Southern Philippines Medical Center. [Register now at http://bit.ly/StopCOVIDDeaths or watch the livestream at TVUP.]

As UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla said: “Physicians lead lives of learning throughout their lives. But what happens when we are dealing with a virus that is not behaving like the old types of viruses? We turn to experience. Decisions will have to be made based on our experience or the experience of others. We are fortunate that we live in a generation where technology is in our favor. This webinar series is a commitment of service to our fellow health workers and our patients.”