Supporting the global response to COVID-19

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The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented in its scope and it is now affecting all of the countries in which Irish Red Cross operate. The Red Cross Red Crescent worldwide are working to contain the spread of COVID-19 and support those affected.

Along with our national response, Irish Red Cross (IRC) is coordinating with its international partners to enhance Red Cross action to support the world’s most vulnerable communities in halting the spread of COVID-19 and recovery from its effects.

Some of the activities and support provided include:

In Nepal, a number of activities have been rolled out by the Nepal Red Cross (NRC) in response to the virus and on the back of IRC support. Included in this is the establishment of an independent steering committee, administered by Deputy Secretary of the District Chapter, intended to focus on the prevention of the spread of the virus and managing movement among the population. The NRC has also initiated an emergency blood transfusion service and a community eye-care service. Tents and tarpaulins have been provided across the various municipalities in the District to facilitate the set-up of help desks for the duration of the lockdown period. Nineteen people are currently in quarantine and are residing in the Community Centre in Beghaklola village and 20 blankets have been provided.

In addition to this, two NRC ambulances in the Myagdi District are on standby to facilitate the transport of patients to the major hospitals and the ambulance drivers have been supplied with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Banners and posters have been positioned in strategic locations across IRC targeted programme intervention areas

Under the IRC Community Livelihood Programme, COVID-19 specific interventions and activities have been rolled out. Included in this is the distribution of 1,000 masks, 500 bars of soap and one hand sanitiser amongst the 415 households in Beghakhola village

Red Cross volunteers showing their community how to effectively wash their hands

Due to the high prevalence of TB in India, COVID-19 presents an additional risk in the communities. To combat this, COVID-19 volunteer groups have been active across India and the Indian Red Cross Society has been coordinating its response on a regular basis, including raising awareness, dissemination of hygiene messages, disinfection activities and health surveillance in close coordination with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of India.

Red Cross volunteers in Jalandhar, Punjab are working round the clock to provide food to the most vulnerable

IRC support specific to the prevention and management of TB will continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. As with TB, COVID-19 typically affects the lungs and people who contract it may show similar symptoms to TB, such as fever and coughing. Those with TB are considered to fall within the more vulnerable groups that may suffer from more severe forms of COVID-19. Many patients with TB also live in densely populated areas meaning their close proximity to others further increases their risk of getting COVID-19.

In Indonesia, the IRC has been supporting the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) as they work with communities so as to improve disaster preparedness within the communities as they face into future emergencies. Activities being carried out by PMI, include the dissemination of educational information, health promotion, distribution of masks, health services and informing on the availability of COVID-19 hotline services.

As COVID-19 can easily cause stress and anxiety among children, Red Cross teams in Indonesia are spreading awareness messages to kids to help them cope with stress

In the Philippines, the Red Cross continues to scale up its response to COVID-19 through its wide network of chapters and volunteers and continues to support the healthcare system and authorities by distributing surgical masks, personal protective equipment and setting up of medical tents. A help desk continues to be operational with 30 volunteers on the phones and a doctor on call for referrals.

Medical tents set up by the Red Cross are used as medical units for overflow from the COVID-19 hospitals.