17 FEBRUARY 2021, MANILA— The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), in partnership with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Aid Programme, introduced Project K3 to the general public while gaining vital information on topics that will be developed into e-learning modules and information, education, and communication (IEC) materials.
A total of 275 attendees from local government units (LGUs), hospitals, and the Department of Health (DOH) participated in this webinar which was part of Project K3 or “Kalinga para sa Kalusugan ng Komunidad”—a national initiative to strengthen local healthcare system capacities in dealing with COVID-19 and preparing for future health crises. Launched last October 2020, a series of baseline assessments were conducted to support the project’s three main targets (1) Training 10,000 local healthcare system stakeholders (representatives from LGUs, healthcare institutions, and community/people's organizations); (2) Distributing 5,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) to selected healthcare facilities; and (3) Facilitating risk communications and community education through the distribution of localized IEC materials.
“New Zealand, through our Aid Programme, aims to develop and share prosperity and stability in our region and beyond. Drawing on the best of New Zealand’s knowledge and skills, we aim to make a positive difference in people’s lives demonstrated through tangible, measurable results,” said New Zealand Embassy Chargé D’Affaires Jocelyn Ng. “We believe in investing in resilience so that communities can prepare for, survive, and recover from disasters and pandemics such as COVID-19,” she added.
Furthermore, Ng also mentioned other projects the New Zealand Aid Programme is supporting which include groups in Mindanao, the Philippine National Kidney Transplant Institute, and Gavi, the international vaccine alliance.
DOH’s Health Emergency Management Bureau Director and a member of Project K3’s Advisory Group, Dr. Gloria Balboa, expressed DOH’s support to the initiative. “This pandemic has been an opportunity for all of us to learn so much not just about disease outbreaks but also adaptation strategies to very different circumstances. We’ve all had to adjust to the new normal and our healthcare workers have stepped up in terms of acquiring new skills and working tirelessly to ensure our health and safety. But there is no end to learning, and with new developments happening on a daily basis - new strains of COVID, new vaccines - there is a need for continuous capacity development,” she said.
PDRF President Mr. Butch Meily discussed PDRF’s other projects and praised the Philippine healthcare workers as the country’s great heroes and he emphasized the need to give them all the help they need. “We are celebrating you, our healthcare workers. Kayo po ang tunay na bayani. You have our gratitude for your service and your courage in caring for people during this dangerous time, when just showing up for work is an act of bravery,” he said.
PDRF Chief Resilience Officer Mr. Guillermo Luz also highlighted the importance of partnerships to improve the health sector. “This project is not all about us teaching you anything about public health because you are the public health specialists, it’s all about us just trying to provide the tools by which we can bring people together, including experts, and yourselves, to be able to share ideas, so that we can improve the public health system in different parts of the country,” he said.
He also presented Taskforce T3 (Test, Trace, and Treat), another private-sector led initiative that was formed in April 2020 to support the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, DOH, and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 in their efforts to combat the pandemic and now to help with the implementation of the National Vaccine Roadmap.
The online event introduced Project K3 to key stakeholders and presented PDRF’s digital learning platform, iADAPT—Innovations Academy for Disaster Awareness, Preparedness, and Training. The customized e-learning modules and IECs will be published on this online platform, as part of K3’s commitment to innovation and communication.
The course development team conducted a live poll via Zoom to get the audience’s answers on the most relevant COVID-19 service delivery topics (Quality improvement training for health services, patient and community safety, risk communication); the most popular infection prevention control (IPC) and IEC topics (Worker safety, waste management, mental health); and preferred learning formats (Video, infographics, interactive learning modules). The poll established that the most commonly used gadgets are mobile phones, laptops, and tablets while Internet signal is strong in Luzon but is weak in both Visayas and Mindanao. The results of these live polls contributed significantly to the Project K3 team’s ongoing research.
The public is invited to participate in the project through TARA, which stands for Talk, Assess, Recover, and Adapt. Talk means signing up for a Key Informant Interview, Assess refers to answering the project survey, Recover means checking out the project’s online resources, and Adapt means visiting the iADAPT platform. The Project K3 team is looking forward to the public’s support for this ongoing initiative.