- Yonsei Holds Webinar Series to Share South Korea's Experience in Combating COVID-19 May 15, 2020
Yonsei University public health experts provide insight into national response and control measures worldwide
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, South Korea has been in the global spotlight for its early intervention and innovative approaches to combating the crisis as one of the world’s first worst-hit countries. Many nations have been making efforts to monitor and apply South Korea’s various public health measures to prevent and control the spread of the deadly virus. In particular, regions where COVID-19 continues to spread exponentially have voiced the need for information and know-how acquired from South Korea’s success practices to implement in their national responses.
To meet this need, Yonsei University has launched a webinar series last March to share South Korea’s experience in combating COVID-19 for nations seeking advice on public health policies and medical approaches. So-called the E-GEEF (Global Engagement & Empowerment Forum) Series, the webinars are held in partnership with international organizations such as World Bank Group and jointly hosted by the Institute for Global Engagement & Empowerment, Yonsei University Health System, and the Graduate School of Public Health at Yonsei University.
The webinar series was created as Yonsei University's response to numerous requests from the international community to gain insight into South Korea's effective disease control measures and patient treatment for COVID-19. Through presentations and in-depth discussions, webinar speakers and participants engaged in identifying mutual challenges and exploring regional approaches in efforts to resolve the global pandemic that has emerged as one of the greatest threats to humankind.
Yonsei University speakers of the E-GEEF Webinar Series featured a wide range of South Korea’s countermeasures for the COVID-19 pandemic. Dean Jonguk Won of the Graduate School of Public Health presented the current situation of South Korea, and Professor So Yoon Kim (Dept. of Medical Law & Ethics) of the College of Medicine shared the country’s national management structure and public communication system. Professor Hyuk Min Lee (Dept. of Laboratory Medicine) of the College of Medicine presented Korea’s testing and laboratory arrangement and identification of suspected cases. Professor Heejin Kim (Dept. of Epidemiology & Health Promotion) of the Graduate School of Public Health covered the various steps of infection response - from isolation, contact tracing, and data reporting to patient classification and treatment.
The E-GEEF webinar series first launched on March 31 at the request of the Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection to develop its COVID-19 response strategies and benchmark South Korea's innovative quarantine system, diagnosis, epidemiological investigation, and treatment. Under the theme, "Video Conference for Colombia's Healthcare Sector,” the webinar hosted key officials including Minister of Health and Social Protection Fernando Ruiz, Director of the National Health Institute Juan Carlos Caiza, and representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). With the Colombian government’s declaration of national emergency due to COVID-19 on March 17, 2020, the webinar offered opportunities to gain insight into detailed know-how on South Korea's response system, aiding its current efforts to establish an efficient and effective response system against the virus.
At the request of the World Bank Group, E-GEEF Series II webinar was held on April 8 for the SaluDerecho Initiative, a public health collaborative network comprised of nine Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Uruguay). Yonsei speakers shared South Korea’s experience in responding to COVID-19, including necessary policy measures and the exemplary diagnostic system of Yonsei University Health System, to ambassadors and public health specialists from Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Peru.
On April 17, the E-GEEF Series III webinar brought together senior government officials of Asian, African, and Middle East countries* and members of the Joint Learning Network, a collective community of 34 countries around the world committed to achieving universal health coverage. During the webinar, Yonsei University speakers introduced South Korea's COVID-19 response strategies, including diagnostic methods, quarantine management, and intergovernmental collaboration system, and led a Q&A session on public health management measures such as sample transportation method, quick diagnosis kit, and viability of antibody test methods.
*Participating countries by region: Asia (Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam), Africa (Guinea), Middle East (Iran)
E-GEEF Series IV and V were held consecutively on April 29 and May 8 with senior healthcare officials of the Republic of Ghana, including Director General of the Ghana National Health Service Patrick Aboagye and directors of local and central public health sectors. In E-GEEF Series IV, Yonsei speakers and webinar participants reviewed Ghana’s diagnostic test capability and medical infrastructure and discussed the possibility of applying South Korea’s PCR-based test method. E-GEEF Series V brought together national health insurance authorities from both countries, including Chief Executive of Ghana’s National Health Insurance Authority Lydia Dsane-Selby and Korea Foundation for International Healthcare President MooJin Choo. The participants conducted in-depth consultations on Ghana's health infrastructure, capabilities, and response status, and shared advice on future COVID-19 response strategies based on South Korea's experiences. In particular, Yonsei University speakers led discussions on the importance of the health insurance system in responding to the current situation, explaining what formula South Korea's health insurance system used based on field experience to ensure treatment for COVID-19 patients.
As one of the leading medical institutions in South Korea, Yonsei University Health System (YUHS) continues to make significant contributions in the nation’s combat against COVID-19. It is currently operating COVID-19 screening clinics and collecting samples across its affiliate hospitals located in Seoul (Sinchon, Gangnam) and Wonju. In addition, Severance Hospital, Gangnam Severance Hospital, and Yongin Severance Hospital are designated as public relief hospitals for COVID-19.
As the organizer of the E-GEEF Series, the Institute for Global Engagement & Empowerment at Yonsei University strives to address real-world issues and play an acting role in guiding the international community towards a more sustainable future within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the leadership of its Honorary Chairman, 8th UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. One of its flagship programs is hosting international forums such as the Global Engagement & Empowerment Forum on Sustainable Development (GEEF) to raise public awareness of SDGs and promote partnerships and collaboration among global leaders and stakeholders. The virtual E-GEEF Series was launched in 2020 as an alternative event for the third annual GEEF on-campus forum, which has been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.