Last July 30, 2020, the Academic Crisis Response Consortium (see https://covid19arc.ph), a collaboration among the Ateneo Professional Schools, the AIM Zuellig School of Development Management, and the DLSU Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance, held Part 3 of a series of Best International Practices, titled “The Fight Against COVID-19: Lessons from New Zealand.”
The webinar featured best practices from selected countries, along with insights and experiences shared by international experts and policymakers, leading the fight against COVID-19.
Dr. Ador Torneo, Director of DLSU Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance facilitated the discussions. He introduced the webinar, highlighting what participants can obtain, such as what the Philippines can adapt in terms of strategy, governance and risk management, anchored on scientific principles, especially since New Zealand is one of the few countries that demonstrated success in effectively containing the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Torneo introduces the webinar and distinguished guests
Dr. Michael Baker, a public health physician and Professor of Public Health in the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, started with the strategic choices that need to be considered for the COVID-19 response which includes the impact of health, economic and inequalities. He then discussed New Zealand’s elimination strategy instead of the mitigation strategy employed in most of the Western World. He ended his session with emphasizing the importance of effective risk assessment and strategic decision-making during a public health crisis by a leadership backed up by science.
Dr. Baker talked of New Zealand’s elimination strategy against COVID-19
His Excellency Peter Kell, Ambassador of the Embassy of New Zealand supplemented Dr. Baker’s points and gave a global dimension to New Zealand’s response to COVID-19. He then continued with the role of communication on how the New Zealand government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Amb. Kell talked of their government’s deliberate approach to communication on the back of clear messaging based on science and evidence.
Amb. Kell discussing the various steps made by the New Zealand government
Moderating the proceedings was Ms. Rica Lazo of ANC 24/7, who efficiently curated all questions and answers from the participants.
The panelists during the Q&A session moderated by Ms. Rica Lazo
The event was closed by Dr. Ador Torneo, who synthesized take-away messages that were key to New Zealand’s best practices, highlighting the importance of awareness of the extent and magnitude of the threat COVID-19 to the economy and health, awareness of the strategic choices available and the New Zealand government choosing the elimination strategy instead of mitigation. Dr. Torneo also emphasized Amb. Kell’s point that there is no one-size-fits-all policy; having home-grown strategies allows them to adapt to the developing situation and improve their responses to the pandemic. Finally, since the COVID-19 is a global problem, it requires global cooperation and collective action. Dr. Torneo said that we need to be vigilant since there is a lot of uncertainty and unknown and the situation is still evolving, “We cannot be complacent. We have to be able to adapt and find ways to deal with the challenges of living during this pandemic.”