Young Bangla makes volunteers aware of COVID-19 precautions

As coronavirus cases continue to rise in Bangladesh, Young Bangla with its nationwide network has taken steps to raise awareness among youths involved in volunteering for their communities.

Youths of Young Bangla, selected from across the country by CRI based on their activities that changed the lives of their communities, came up with their humanitarian response during the pandemic.

Their voluntary activities include offering food to poor people and daily wage earners who are having a hard time since all activities around the country has halted as a measure to stop the spread of coronavirus, said a media release on Sunday.

They also campaigned for social distancing. Since their voluntary involvement increases their chance of being affected, Young Bangla’s secretariat Centre for Research and Information (CRI) has organised three webinars, held last week, between 200 community youth leaders and health and wellbeing practitioners.

Participating youths in those sessions have received guidelines and briefs on Volunteerism and Safety in Corona Days recently.

Professor Mamun Al Mahtab (Shwapnil), chairman, Liver Department, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), partook in the third webinar. He provided youths with the guidelines and answered their queries.

“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 on the street,” he said.

Mahtab suggested the youths to keep outside their clothes after returning home or cleaning them properly before taking them inside. He recommended keeping a box to isolate the wallet, watches, and all other stuff they carry outside since you never know what might carry the virus.

He also suggested wiping the mobile phones with a rag soaked in liquid soap.

“Not everyone needs to use a surgical mask since it’s neither available nor affordable. What you can do is use two or three-layered masks,” he said.

While all the cautionary words from every corner of the world are about the outbreak of coronavirus, some other aspects of hygiene are often overlooked and that matters most to the volunteers.

He suggested the volunteers to be very careful about dehydration and heat-stroke and recommended carrying a bottle of water and to avoid drinking drink water from any unreliable sources. “In case you have to take lunch at restaurants, be sure that the food is freshly cooked and hot.”

He also advised youths to make their community aware of fake news regarding coronavirus.

About the coronavirus situation in Bangladesh, he said, “When the entire world is scared of it, cities around the planet are under lockdown, the premiers or their spouses in the most developed countries are diagnosed with this deadly virus, you cannot say that Bangladesh is not doing enough or you cannot say that it shattered Bangladesh once you take the global scale into account.

“When someone says why the country did not act more promptly, I say they hardly have any idea about the setting up and running a PCR Lab that is neither so easy nor so affordable.”

Young Bangla develops a guideline based on these consultations as a draft to be shared it with more experts and relevant agencies.

Young Bangla in its first webinar with its network emphasises more on ‘stay home’ message and orient the network about uses of ICT tools to raise awareness among the community.

Young Bangla secretariat also highlights the issue of accessing right information and shared sources with the webinar participants.

In the second webinar, Md Ashraf Uddin Ahmed, resident physician of BIRDEM, Md Jahidul Hasan, clinical pharmacist of Square Hospital and Mohammd Habibur Rahman, national technical adviser-One Health Training and Outreach, ECTAD-FAO, Bangladesh joined as experts to answer the questions and concerns of the Young Bangla network.