The beginning of the third decade of the 21st century is met by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that quickly spread to the whole world forcing almost all the countries of the world to impose a lockdown. People are staying at home and practicing social isolation, protecting themselves and others. Despite the preventive measures being taken, the virus is continuing to spread on an unprecedented rate. Hence, it is becoming hard for even the strongest countries in the world to cope with the outbreak. As of May 13, 2020 there have been more than 4 million reported cases around the globe . Even though the death toll is below 300,000 the outbreak is considered deadly due to the lack of any cure or vaccine.
People have become frustrated due to the lockdown. The economic condition of all the countries also continues to worsen. In view of these circumstances most countries are devising alternative plans to cope up with the Covid-19, i.e. to gradually open businesses while ensuring social distancing protocols.
Need for Volunteers
It is evident that the pandemic is not ending any time soon. A potential vaccine is 12 to 18 months away. Thus world will adjust to the new normalcy. New patient count continues to increase despite strict social isolation protocols. Any relaxation in the restrictions might result in a new wave. Unfortunately, lot of governments around globe do not have the resources to deal with increased patient load. Hence, governments have started planning to organize volunteer force to assist in this time.
Support for Doctors
The pandemic has required doctors and nurses to perform their jobs while at risk of contracting the virus; and they have done phenomenal job. They are “heroes”. However, they need support to handle overwhelming load of patients. Countries like UAE , UK are requesting professional with medical background to share load with medical practitioners. The assistance also includes, continuous supply of protective gears.
Support for Governments
The Covid-19 pandemic changed lifestyle by enforcing strict social isolation protocols. Hence citizens need government support with necessities. This requires a large workforce and volunteers can fill the void. Volunteers helped in delivering food and other essential supplies in the neighborhood, and providing logistic support to people requiring medical support.
Volunteers in different countries
Various countries have used volunteers as part of COVID-19 response team. That primarily includes UK and UAE.
Volunteers in the UK
Virus spread faster then anticipation in UK. The initial response by UK was slightly delayed, however government was forced to ramp up its efforts as the virus outbreak grew exponential. As the cases started piling up, overwhelming UK hospital capacity, National Health Service called for volunteers. The National Health Service was looking for around 250,000 volunteers. Once the registration process began, more than a million people signed up to offer their services to the community.
Volunteers in the UAE
The UAE also began their campaign calling for recruits to volunteer and support the society as corona virus began to spread. Doctors, nurses, physiologists and paramedics are coming forward in this time of need. Retired personnel are also rejoining the force to assist their country in coping with the pandemic. The government has also allowed personnel working at one hospital to help out at other hospitals as well. The volunteer opportunities in the UAE are available for anyone over the age of 14. People with no medical background are engaging themselves in deliveries and those who can teach are contributing through online classes. The social isolation protocols have frustrated most people. Thus, Mental Health Professionals are being requested to volunteer in counselling these people.
Organizing and Coordinating Volunteers
The recruitment of a Volunteer force requires a forum where, people who are willing, can apply. A perfectly working system must be put in place first so that maximum output can be gained from the people. Websites and applications were quickly setup in many countries. They allowed the public to sign up and then choose a desired way of volunteering.
The Need for an Application
After being registered the biggest challenge faced by volunteers is how to co-ordinate their activities to ensure maximum efficiency. This begs for a system that takes in account all the volunteers and creates a connection between them. Thus, they can be aware of the tasks that have been completed and those that are left. The best way to provide co-ordination is the introduction of an application. The application should have a certain number of volunteers allowed for each task. Once the number of volunteers for a particular task are complete the applying public can be guided towards another task. This will prevent wastage of manpower and resources.
Features of the Application
Few important features are listed below:
- Secure registration
- Geo tagged co-ordination
- Task assignment and monitoring
- Efficient co-ordination and security
An ideal application to manage of Covid-19 volunteers would start off with the setup of an account. Most governments are vetting volunteers before allowing them to register. In future, I assume only people that have either developed immunity or have prior training can only participate. However, everyone can register as a general public that needs help. It would be good to have phone authentication.
A key feature for the application could be Geo-tagging. The application would publish the requirements of the people and tag them with their location. This allows to find nearby volunteers for the patients. Assume this is Uber for Volunteers.
Task assignment and monitoring
The application could also employ real-time monitoring. This would ensure people get volunteer help for their tasks. Monitoring body can track number of requests to find about local spread of virus in the area. Also can track if volunteers have enough capacity to serve everyone.
Efficient co-ordination and security
Perhaps, the most important feature that this application need is direct and efficient ability of direct communication between the volunteers and the public. This should be text chat like “WhatsApp” and secured phone call without revealing volunteers actual phone number.
The application is developed by GenITeam Solutions as a corporate social responsibility and available to be used by chariry organization and governments across the globe. Do hear our pitch
Benefits of the Application
Most applications on the store are made for profit . However the purpose of a volunteer management application is different. The application serves an noble task as it provides for the people in need and gives others the opportunity to help the community. Hence, even the developers of the application are playing a part in community service and considered to be among the volunteers themselves. You can review more about the application by following VolunteerApp.
The Covid-19 has brought the community together like nothing before. Districts and countries have put their differences aside to help one another find a way out of the current situation. All national and international arguments have paused. The major focus of everyone today is to survive through this virus. With a potential vaccine around 12 to 18 months away the best chance we have is to practice social distancing and overcome this pandemic together.