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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 volunteer team needs public health graduates for tracing: Coordinator

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, October 30, 2020   /   11:22 am
COVID-19 volunteer team needs public health graduates for tracing: Coordinator A security officer takes a free rapid test at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle area in Central Jakarta on May 26. The Indonesia Bersatu Lawan COVID-19 (Indonesia Unite Against COVID-19) volunteers took a mobile laboratory to conduct mass rapid testing in the area. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

COVID-19 volunteer coordinator Andre Rahadian has invited public health graduates to join his team to help the country fight the coronavirus.

Andre said in a statement on Wednesday that the needed public health graduates would be deployed as contact tracing volunteers. 

He went on to say that the COVID-19 volunteer team so far comprised 32,000 people, with 6,500 of them ready to be stationed in community health centers (Puskesmas) across the country.

“We invite [those with public health degrees] to volunteer at Puskesmas in their respective region,” he added.

According to Andre, Indonesia had at least 1,800 Puskesmas, with each center needing a total of five officers, consisting of three public servants and two volunteers doing tracing. 

“Tracing is a very sensitive duty because they have to collect information on how people contracted COVID-19,” he said, adding that the volunteering team was focusing on changing the public’s behavior to stop virus transmission.

“The only way to reach such a goal is by making sure that the public is aware of the virus and being consistent,” said Andre, who is the chairman of the University of Indonesia Alumni (Iluni).

The COVID-19 volunteer team was formed in March, and has avoided any form of getting together or crowd-pulling activities, an unusual approach for a humanitarian endeavor.

Andre said among the challenges faced by the volunteers was handling a health disaster that is exacerbated by human interaction. 

Read also: UK funds Indonesian COVID-19 volunteer group to improve data collection in Jakarta

“These volunteers are accustomed to handling disasters by setting up service centers, pulling up logistics and getting together. 

“But for the COVID-19 pandemic, they cannot take such an approach,” he said, adding that the volunteers needed to work together without being able to get together, which was quite challenging. 

“We organize virtual training sessions and coordinate with each other prior to doing the work but without [physically] getting together. Nevertheless, we take such arrangements as part of educating the public on behavioral change during the pandemic,” said Andre.

Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim said on Wednesday that at least 15,000 people had signed up to volunteer in COVID-19 mitigation efforts since April. 

“Our [higher education] students have played their part in public service. Since April, at least 15,000 students have participated as volunteers to help the country in pandemic mitigation through the national COVID-19 volunteer program,” said Nadiem as quoted by kompas.com.

The volunteering activity covers teaching elementary school children as well as doing various public works in relation to COVID-19 handling and mitigation efforts.

The Indonesian Scout Movement (Pramuka) has also taken part in the nation's COVID-19 handling by sending off volunteers.

According to Pramuka COVID-19 task force head Bachtiar, the movement had done its volunteering part since the start of the pandemic in March.

“The Pramuka task force so far has 4,500 volunteers that have actively done work on COVID-19 handling,” said Bachtiar, adding that he was certain the volunteer number would grow considering the movement had at least 20 million members nationwide. (nkn)

Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.