iranian red crescent

IRCS President: Vaccination of volunteers exposed to the public is essential

TEHRAN, 12 April 2021 (IRCS) - In the virtual meeting of the National ‎Societies of the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) on Monday, ‎April 12, President of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) Dr Karim ‎Hemmati outlined the Society’s efforts amid Covid-19 pandemic in Iran and ‎made some key suggestions‏.‏

In the meeting which was held in the presence of Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Mr Hemmati said that the Society mobilized the NGOs’ resources and organized them to support human resources and logistical activities of the hospitals, during which over 500 hospitals and medical centers were covered by their support.

“The trained volunteers started disinfecting different places including jails and homeless dormitories,” said IRCS president.

Hemmati referred to the initiative of the Iranian Red Crescent’s Volunteers Organizations during the Coronavirus spread, and said: “Another remarkable initiative by the Iraanian Red Crescent’s volunteer organization was establishing a trust bank of medical equipment in all provincial branches in which the required supplies such as oxygen concentrators, and beds were collected and maintained for needy patients at home so that the hospitals’ work load was significantly reduced.”

IRCS president also said that the Society’s volunteers were mobilized to screen the passengers and travellers during the New Year holidays of the last and current Iranian calendar years.

“During the New Year holidays, the IRCS was assigned and mandated to screen the passengers in the air, sea and road borders in coordination with the pertinent government entities and over 140,000 people were screened and 47 people with Covid symptoms were sent to quarantine centers.”

Elsewhere in his speech, Dr Hemmati referred to the establishment of Red Crescent Houses (Persian literally Helal Houses) in villages and remote regions of the country, saying: “A main and strategic activity by the National Society to engage and prepare local communities is establishment of Helal Houses in villages and remote areas in order to mobilize local and community based resources to develop and disseminate voluntary partnerships. So far, 5000 Helal Houses activated and became functional each of which acts as a small connecting hub to the local branches. Helal houses train the communities to be prepared for and respond to the emergencies as first responders.”

“This is not only against the pandemic but also the emerging disasters based on each region specific needs and capacities. It is a remarkable example to engage local communities to be responsible and active by themselves.”

IRSC president also referred to the impact of US sanctions on some of the Iranian Red Crescent’s humanitarian activities, and said: “I would like to stress the fact that as a result of the financial crisis, some of the existing planned activities were suspended. The extreme reduction of internal resources to equip volunteers for better services made the National Society face several unprecedented problems. Economic sanctions are a major challenge for receiving the international aids on time and properly, resulting in slow humanitarian assistance.”

Furthermore, Dr. Hemmati emphasized the importance of vaccinating Red Crescent and Red Cross volunteers, and said: “As per the several national plans by the volunteers, the need to vaccinate them is extremely high. The poor access to the vaccine is a key concern for our esteemed volunteers’ safety. Their exposure to the public makes their safety at risk. The National Society ensured to cover the operational relief workers under the insurance coverage (death and medical). It is a necessity that we as a Movement have to uphold the advocacy role in providing ensured vaccine for the National Societies.”

At the end of his speech, referring to prolonged closure of schools due to emerging of the Coronavirus that has affected the morale of youth and children, Dr Hemmati said that the need for the psychological support and developing different enlivening and pleasant programs for the young members was our responsibility to mitigate the negative consequences of this global pandemic.