Meet the Collab Team Behind the COVID-19 Info Primer in Vernacular Lingo!
Gari Sy Rivera | Apr 16, 2020
Mga Paunawa sa Covid is an online effort started by a team of Filipino doctors that made a primer on COVID-19 for the general public. The documentary includes easy-to-get and understandable info about the virus, sourced straight from members of the medical community whose goal is to “demystify the jargon and increase public awareness regarding COVID.”
For the group of doctors, namely Ralph Fonte, Alexandria Tuason, Ysabel Ortiz, Kassandra Viloria, and Christy Padre, relaying and receiving the right information is crucial, more so when it’s about the pandemic disease currently being faced. “Good and timely communication is important especially during this pandemic because an increase in awareness and a deeper understanding of the country’s health situation is important for the compliance of the public with health and safety measures being enforced.”
The cruciality of proper communication is the very thing that inspired this project. “We all have to be more selective with regards to the online information we ascribe to and share with others. It is important to check if the sources of the documents we share are derived from credible institutions such as WHO, CDC, and DOH.” However, the prolific use of scientific terms may hinder a deeper understanding among the general public. The group felt that people would better understand the disease and the necessary measures if these were explained in a comprehensible manner. “We saw that there was a need for better communication to the public regarding COVID,” they relate, “While packets of information were regularly being released by government institutions, the medical jargon could be perceived as intimidating. We felt that this public health information could be delivered in a more concise and understandable manner to the general public.”
In the hopes of delivering the right and brief information on the subject, they reached out to volunteers and writers for help in translating their primer in different local dialects to further their reach of people who could learn from these. As of 7 April 2020, these translated formats include dialects of Ilokano, Tagalog, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Bikolano, Minasbate, Hiligaynon, Bisaya, Cuyono, Waray, and Maranao. “We based our explainer on the current guidelines from the WHO, CDC, and DOH. We also wanted to address common misconceptions regarding the disease,” they share, “We do our best to regularly update the included statistics and algorithms.”
Not only does Mga Paunawa sa Covid relay primers on the disease, they also publish creative infographics as well that share quick-to-learn facts about the disease, such as symptoms, current rates, precautionary measures and the like. All this was done through the collective effort of their layout team composed of artists Amon Fudo, Farah Baldos, Glendford Lumbao, Jed Morada, Melody Santos, Dayanara Simon, and Rai Hamid.
Considering that this project is ultimately a collaboration among professionals, these doctors, writers, and artists faced the challenge of coordinating amongst themselves due to their different schedules while in the enhanced community. Another challenge they faced was the translation of the document into different dialects. “It was difficult to find a common time for all of us. We had to work asynchronously, which is why it took a while for us to release our explainer.”
An inspiration for Filipinos, this team of professionals from different fields display the Filipino characteristic of valuing the safety of others, exceeding efforts to help our fellow countrymen in ways that we can. “If we truly want to survive this pandemic with as few casualties as possible, we have to help each other by offering what we can. No one can help us but ourselves.”
For information on COVID-19, read the Mga Paunawa sa COVID explainers published online. For more info on the project, check their Facebook page out.