The recent outbreak of coronavirus disease has forced the entire mankind into a point of uncertainty. Doctors and healthcare officials are tackling this pandemic as a frontline fighter, also other professionals have come forward in this crisis and youth are no exception to that.
Since the country declared a lockdown in specified areas as a measure to eradicate the spread of the deadly pandemic this has brought a difficult reality for the marginalized and the poor as it bought an unexpected halt for the uncertain period. It is a matter of relief that many enthusiastic youths came forward to ensure the basic human needs.
Young Bangla the youth-led platform of Centre for Research and Information-CRI took initiatives to create awareness among the youth network allover Bangladesh who are involved in volunteering activities for the humanitarian cause. Although everyone promotes ‘stay home, stay safe’ to cease the spread of this deadly virus, young volunteers are the one who stays outside to ensure the basic human needs. Their activities include distribution of hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, basic daily groceries among the impoverished but not limited only to that. They are also drawing social distancing circles in busy areas, spraying disinfectant, creating awareness on recent provisions of ‘Quarantine’, ‘Isolation’. Some of them are playing important roles in the digital medium too. As the rumours and misinformation go up in everyday situations, the volunteers also check into it and share positive and important information using social media and other online mediums.
Keeping the current scenario in mind, Young Bangla’s secretariat Centre for Research and Information (CRI) has organized as many as three bridging webinars in last week (March 30, April 1 and April 2) among 200 youth, between community youth leaders and health and wellbeing practitioners. Participants received basic guidelines and directions from the renowned healthcare advisor and experts shared their opinion and also listened to the youth challenges that volunteers are facing during the field activities.
In the first webinar Young Bangla emphasis on getting the update status of the network and to get informed about the initiatives the uphold already. Young Bangla secretariat listened to the youth network and emphasis on the ‘stay home’ message. They also got the instruction to be vigilant of misleading and fake information spreading in an online medium.
The second webinar was on Safety Protocols, Health and Wellbeing for the Volunteers. Dr Md. Ashraf Uddin Ahmed, Resident Physician of BIRDEM, Md. Jahidul Hasan, Clinical Pharmacist of Square Hospital and Mohammd Habibur Rahman, National Technical Advisor-One Health Training and Outreach, ECTAD-FAO, Bangladesh joined the discussion with the youth. The webinar session was divided into three sessions where the three resource persons came up with their guidelines through multimedia presentations. The participants of the webinar also received guidelines, do’s and don’ts and briefs on how to conduct their voluntary humanitarian response activities during this COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion started with a brief of the networks initiative at a point Mr. Rahman tried to grab attention on a very crucial matter that what will happen if a volunteer infected while working in the community. He acknowledged the necessity of volunteerism in times of crisis like this.
Webinar Record- Habibur Rahman
Dr. Ahmed added Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is for the doctors who directly attend the COVID-19 affected patient. Besides, the difference between a conventional mask and surgical mask and how to use a surgical mask also discussed.
Webinar Record- Asraf Uddin
Mr. Hasan discussed that the careful disposal of PPEs is very crucial because the virus can infect the community on a large scale if the PPEs are not disposed of maintaining medical equipment disposal protocol.
Webinar Record- Jahidul Hasan
Young Bangla hosted its third webinar on ‘Volunteerism and Safety’ during COVID-19. Eminent Professor Dr. Mamun Al Mahtab (Shwapnil), Chairman, Liver Department, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), a medical scientist who co-invented Hepatitis-B drug named Nasvac joined the discussion; he provided youths with the safety instructions and answered their queries. He stated, “As the virus emerged as a pandemic all across the world, you, volunteers serving humanity, are doing a great job. But you must maintain a set of hygiene rules since you are out to the street.”
The webinar session was divided into two sessions. In the first session, the resource person delivered an extempore speech on the elementary know-how of the volunteerism during this pandemic and the second session was on how to curb the rumour-mongering and how to communicate awareness messages to the community people so that they stay calm.
Moving onto the next session, Dr, Mahtab came up with some discussion points where he discussed and described how Bangladesh responded after finding out the existence of this virus in the people, how rapidly the government responded and deal with the situation.
The webinar concluded with a question and answer session where the participant asked questions regarding their concerns.
The consultation ended developing a guideline in Bangla ‘করোনা ভাইরাস এবং স্বেচ্ছাসেবামূলক কার্যক্রমঃ প্রেক্ষিত বাংলাদেশ’ for the volunteers who are serving in the frontline in this crisis.