MANGALDAI: In view of the unprecedented situation arising due to COVID-19, the government has promptly taken up appropriate measures like quarantine, isolation and medical treatment, including critical care. As the government is gearing up to meet the logistical needs for such a situation, a cadre of volunteers are in urgent need to support the frontline workforce in certain non-medical activities related to COVID-19 issues.
Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), in line with the guidelines issued by the National Disaster management Authority (NDMA), has come up with a novel idea to create a cadre of volunteers under the name and style of ‘Pratirodhi Bondhu’ using the existing volunteers from ASLRM, NULM, Aapada Mitra, Indian Red Cross Society, Nehru Yuvak Kendra, NCC and NSS.
The objective of the ‘Pratirodhi Bondhu’ volunteers is providing psychological and emotional support to the elderly and children to boost their morale. Advocacy for social distancing and hygiene, to develop coordination, reporting, and feedback mechanism through community reach out during the lockdown period and afterward and to provide additional manpower support for non-medical activities at district, revenue circle and village level are the other objectives of the ‘Pratirodhi Bondhu’.
“Stress has emerged as a new challenge in the time of lockdown and prohibitory orders can seriously affect the mental health due to frustration. Further, the fear of financial insecurity may hurt the people and this may bring further psychological impact on the individual and family as a whole. Pratirodhi Bondhu can act as volunteers for sensitizing people on health and hygiene and social distancing as preventive measure for containment of COVID-19. Pratirodhi Bondhu will be a source of joy and playfulness for the children and elderly citizens and they will extend psychological support and ultimately help the community to recover with a positive note,” said Chief Executive Officer of ASDMA, Pankaj Chakravarty while talking to The Sentinel.
“The Pratirodhi Bondhus will make telephonic communication with the vulnerable groups like elders and children to provide emotional and psychological support. They will also act as additional manpower for different non-medical response needs, help individuals living alone, support in crowd management in hospitals, support the administration in managing child care institutions, support the frontline workers in ensuring the continuity of the routine services like immunization and mid-day meals, assist in distribution of relief, offer special care for the people with disability, support in possible flood situation vis-a-vis during COVID-19 and to collate feedback from communities and other stakeholders,” added Pankaj Chakravarty.
ASDMA has already invited e-applications through social media and website and a total of 15,980 persons have expressed their willingness to became Pratirodhi Bondhu in which Darrang district is at the top of the list with 1,288 Pratorodhi Bondhus. After imparting training to these Pratirodhi Bondhus, they will be deployed for the period willingly agreed in their application and deployment roosters will be maintained at district and revenue circle levels. District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will provide them protection gears, food and transportation. The volunteer call will be for a minimum of 10 days to maximum of 60 days for six months between April to September. The volunteers will have the freedom to decide on the maximum number of days beyond these six months.