As part of the cycle of international online conferences of medical volunteers, on August 18 a round table was held «On life after coronavirus. What challenges will medical volunteering face in the healthcare sector?»
«Medical volunteers are actively cooperating with international organizations. During the pandemic, medical volunteering has proven to be effective; and despite all limitations, it is vital to continue this collaboration. The online format will help develop new areas of volunteering, for example, psychological support for the population, at the same time strengthening the basic ones: information about preventive measures, as well as increasing the level of medical literacy of citizens,» said Pavel Savchuk
, Member of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Youth, Volunteerism and Patriotic Education, Chairman of the All-Russian public movement «Medical Volunteers», Head of the Center for Coordinating Volunteer Staff of the nationwide help initiative #WeAreTogether.
According to Elizaveta Khunduma, coordinator of international projects of the All-Russian public movement «Doctors-Volunteers», the coronavirus pandemic has had a great impact on various spheres of society, including the medical volunteer community. «We need to answer the questions on how we are going to develop in the future and what further tasks are set before medical volunteers. We want to exchange experience and ideas so that this direction will continue to actively develop,» she was quoted as saying.
Paulo Parente, coordinator of international projects of the association Young Doctors of Italy, spoke about the work of volunteers in Italy, one of the first European countries to face the pandemic. «The main challenge for the entire healthcare system is how to prioritize, how to make sure that people do not lose hope or strength, and understand what we will face in the coming months. We need to strengthen intensive care and resuscitation wards to make the healthcare system more efficient. Coronavirus is among us, and we need volunteers to give people accurate and reliable information and lay out all the necessary containment measures.»
Maria Yakunchikova, Deputy Chair of the All-Russian public movement «Medical Volunteers» was cited as saying: «With the advent of the pandemic, medical volunteers had to observe new rules in their work, and most likely these rules will remain in the future. First of all, these measures are formats of online assistance and online volunteering. We developed an assistant volunteering system in order to keep our volunteers safe and minimize contact. Every volunteer in his own neighborhood, in his own house, tried to assist those in need, and thus targeted assistance was provided.»
Furthermore, Maria Yakunchikova spoke about the work of volunteer staff in the regions of Russia that coordinated the work of volunteers during the pandemic. Now they continue to work in the direction of attracting new volunteers.
Shahini Desli, founder of the Albanian organization We Are Equal, drew attention to the high level of anxiety among people and the difficulty in disseminating reliable, confirmed information during the pandemic.
«It was difficult for people to understand where to go and what to do in difficult situations. Only getting the correct information makes it possible to do the right thing. Therefore, we realized that it was very important to disseminate reliable information and keep track of complex medical cases,» she explained.
Medical Director of Future Team, Mexican delegate Francisco Antonio Miranda agreed that it was paramount to conduct educational work, as well as restore public confidence in doctors and the medical system, which was undermined during the pandemic.
«What is happening now is perhaps a sign of the end of an egoistic society, when we did not think about others, but only about ourselves. The feeling that you save and help those in need is important, in other words, we have become not only consumers, but we have started thinking about what and who surrounds us,» he stated.