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MRC provides psychosocial support to 916 individuals

Mariyam Malsa
06 April 2020, MVT 19:13
MRC Secretary General Fathimath Himya speaking to the press. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
06 April 2020, MVT 19:13

Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC), on Sunday, revealed that it had provided psychosocial support to 916 individuals, as part of its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at a press briefing held at the Dharubaaruge Convention Centre, MRC Secretary-General Fathimath Himya revealed that the individuals offered support via the organization's call centres included people currently under quarantine and those identified during contact tracing.

"An average of between 60 and 100 calls are made to the call centre every day, that includes new calls as well as follow up calls", stated Himya.

Individuals may contact HPA's hotline 1676 to acquire psychosocial services.

Furthermore, the Secretary-General revealed that MRC had conducted online support group sessions for quarantined individuals via the Zoom videoconferencing application.

National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC)'s rapid response teams were also included in MRC's efforts to provide psychosocial support, with 45 members receiving instruction on psychosocial first aid.

Himya disclosed that 52 MRC volunteers participated in the efforts to provide the aforementioned services.

The Secretary General also addressed difficulties faced by MRC, particularly highlighting delays in reaching individuals that returned to Maldives following extended periods abroad and had not received the opportunity to rearrange a local phone number before being placed under mandatory quarantine.

She revealed that discussions were ongoing with managers of various quarantine facilities to establish direct lines of communication with quarantined individuals.

Additionally, MRC awareness efforts targeted towards both locals and expatriates are delivered via loudspeakers in the capital city of Male' and reclaimed suburb Hulhumale'. She further stated that information was provided to approximately 7,000 individuals through the distribution and display of posters, leaflets and other materials. Secretary General Himya stated that five languages were used in awareness efforts to maximise outreach.

Awareness sessions are also being conducted at Kalaafaanu School for groups of 30 to 50 foreigners, with social distancing measures in place, as per requests by local companies. Sessions for expatriate workers are conducted in their native language with the aid of foreign volunteers. A total of 2,713 have attended the sessions.

Overall, Himya disclosed that MRC had provided information to an estimated 40,000 foreigners through various methods. She stated that the figure was low compared to the resident expatriate population in Maldives and assured that efforts to extend the awareness outreach were ongoing.

She highlighted that MRC's volunteers across the country had provided 9,000 hours of service in March, stressing that the number represented one year of service time contributed during a single month.

Presently, Maldives has 19 confirmed and six active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 13 recoveries. While there are two confirmed cases of Maldivians, no local-to-local transmissions have been recorded.

The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 1,274,300 people and claimed over 69,400 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 264,800 people have recovered.

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