Dean Dynamo: Dean Estrella in the Fight vs. Covid-19

The Luzon wide lockdown failed to dampen the spirit of the intelligent and energetic LPU Cavite CAMS Dean Dr. Fedelyn Estrella. Quarantined at home with her family, she actively took on the role of wife and mother and a work-from-home LPUC admin but wait… not only that.

From March 30 to April 3 (batch 1) and from April 14 to May 14, 2020 (batch 2), she was invited as one of the trainors for the Free Online Biosafety Training for Laboratorians who will be handling SARS-COV-2 or COVID-19 for around 5,000 interested participants in both batches. Conducted under the auspices of The National Training Center for Biosafety and Biosecurity (NTCBB) – National Institutes of Health (NIH), University of the Philippines Manila (UPM), the training was done using online teaching and distance education modes.

The training topics were: Introduction to Biorisk Management with Focus on Biosafety; Risk Assessment; Biocontainment Facilities; Biosafety Cabinet Use; Personal Protective Equipment; Disinfection, Sterilization and Decontamination; and Waste Management of Biological Materials. The training was a requirement for establishing a COVID-19 testing facility.

The NTCBB was very fortunate to have graduates, like Dean Estrella, of the Philippine Advanced Biorisk Officers’ Training (PhABOT) who unselfishly volunteered to share their expertise in the different discussion forums. Dean Estrella was also on duty daily from 10pm onwards to check the output of the participants. At times, she confessed, she spent sleepless nights on this task simply because she enjoyed the participants’ enthusiastic and serious outputs.

The Department of Health issued Department Circular No. 2020-0173 designating NTCBB as a Training Provider for Biosafety and Biosecurity, due in large part to the training effort that has generated a lot of interest from participants. Currently, only RITM and NTCBB are recognized providers of biosafety and biosecurity trainings relevant to SARS-COV-2 testing.

During the ECQ period, the indefatigable dean also served as consultant to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) CBO (Certified Biosafety Officer) volunteers who were doing the laboratory set up on Covid-19 Testing Centers, assessing the laboratories and training frontiliners.

Finally, Dean Estrella was also on the UP NIH Risk Assessment Team. In all these involvements, she received no salary or honorarium. She offered her services gratis et amore Dei, for free, as her incalculable contribution to the nation’s efforts to survive and surpass the challenges brought about by the virus. What a great example to all Lyceans! Thanks, Dean Fedz, for serving as an inspiration to true nationalism and generosity of spirit!