On the occasion of World Youth Skills Day celebrated recently, Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) launched a Covid-19 volunteer programme for community members to offer a cadre of volunteers to the local administrations and health system at ACF locations in rural areas. The Community Medicines Department of KEM Hospital, Mumbai also joined in as knowledge partners offering support in curriculum development, assessment and training of master trainers. The need for such a programme was seen during the second wave where health administrators were grappling for support in high-risk identification, manpower, and skilled support in securing oxygen cylinders, concentrators, ventilators and also managing beneficiaries during the vaccination drives.
The programme is launched in 13 locations: Chandrapur, Bhatapara, Chhindwara, Farakka, Sankrail, Ambujanagar, Rabriyawas, Bhatinda, Roorkee, Dadri, Ropar, Darlaghat and Nalagarh, with an aim to reach over 10,000 volunteers. There are also more than 100 master trainers who have been trained to run this programme.
Highlighting the Covid-19 volunteer programme, Pearl Tiwari, Director and CEO, Ambuja Cement Foundation said, “At this crucial time, the health system appreciates all the support they can get. By creating such volunteers will not only provide them with support to work seamlessly but also help curb the virus in our remote rural geographies. We hope to involve as many individuals as possible and create a large group of volunteers for our local health departments.”
How the COVID-19 volunteer programme will work?
Volunteers eligible for this programme will be individuals of 18 years and above, community health workers, trainees from Skill & Entrepreneurship Development Institutes (SEDI), Covid-19 warriors, NGO volunteers and security guards. The programme is divided into two modules. The first module will cover aspects like basics of Covid-19, types of testing, difference in isolation and quarantine centres, referrals and vaccination preparedness. The second module will cover guidance on recording vitals, disposing biomedical waste, support with oxygen therapy and understanding Mucormycosis. The programme is a 3-day course with 4-hour of training per day and practical training at a local health facility.
Before launching this programme, ACF created master trainers who are qualified general duty assistant trainers from SEDI and health coordinators. These trainers underwent a 3-day rigorous training on the programme organised by the health professor of KEM Hospital. The master trainers will then in turn carry out the training programme for the volunteers in batches of 30 individuals.
Those volunteers who will complete theory and practical training at a satisfactory level in pre-post testing will be able to volunteer in hospitals and clinical settings supporting nursing staff and will be certified as technical volunteers. Those who will complete only theory and unable to complete practical at a satisfactory level will be considered non-technical and will be able to volunteer only with village level institutions and frontline workers. Upon completion of training, the local health departments will be intimated with the list of volunteers available for any support required.
The technical volunteers will be able to offer support in recording vitals, support with oxygen therapy and assistance at isolation and quarantine centres. The non-technical volunteers will be able to offer support during vaccination drives, conduct village level surveys for high-risk identification, create awareness campaigns and support Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in strategy and liasoning.
Learning from the past
ACF has carried out strategic interventions right through the pandemic to keep the community safe through community awareness by involving people institutions like self-help groups (SHGs), farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and frontline workers to deliver healthcare at the last mile rural areas. It has also provided oxygen support like concentrators, oxygen plants, cylinders, ventilators, antigen testing support and medical supplies. This two way approach of awareness creation and medical support has indeed proved helpful for the local Covid-19 management teams and can be strengthened even more with the trained community volunteers.
What’s Ambuja Cement Foundation?
Established in 1993, Ambuja Cement Foundation is a grassroots pan-India implementing organisation that harnesses the power of partnerships –between communities, governments and other like-minded corporates and NGOs – to help solve pressing community problems and to foster prosperity. For almost three decades, ACF has created significant impact. A full-fledged research and monitoring unit, along with numerous external, independent studies show significant change – in income levels, health indicators and overall harmony and happiness. Its work has spread beyond its core villages, and by working hand in hand with like-minded organisations, it aims to significantly impact the pressing issues of the country.
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