Supporting and enabling volunteering is what VSA knows how to do, and these skills are helping with the COVID-19 outbreak in the Solomon Islands. VSA has quickly pivoted to support its partner the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), managing volunteers to be part of an essential call centre service since 14 February 2022. In a fast-moving environment where COVID-19 is spreading, Honiara residents need to know what to do if their family is unwell and need be tested or where to get vaccinated.
Because of the rapid spread of the virus, VSA’s six volunteers are provided accommodation, transport, and food during the day. All volunteers are trained in Public Health, and regular COVID-19 tests help with detecting any positive cases within the team at an early stage.
This urgent project is funded by generous donations given to VSA that support volunteers and it is this generosity that has enabled the organisation to pivot quickly to support Solomon Islands to respond to calls from residents, and provide correct information that could help to save lives.
As of this week, three of the ten provinces remain COVID-19 free, and numbers of infected people continue to rise to well over 4,000. Measures are being taken to reduce the spread between the islands and a curfew is in place in Honiara to minimise movement.
VSA Programme Manager, Shupayi Mpunga-Direen (Shu), has also been working with the National Health Emergency Operation Centre (NHEOC) to understand how teams work, and provide support to achieve efficient processes and procedures in this changing environment. “NHEOC has a team of committed staff who are doing their best to take care of themselves and others, and to ensure that residents are given the information they need at the right time. There are really important infection prevention and control measures that have been put in place to keep staff and volunteers safe and it’s so cool that VSA can be part of this.” says Shu. "They just make my day. So positive and always smiling. It feels really good to walk into the call centre and see them hard at work on the phones."
If you would like to support the volunteer work of VSA, please donate here