Red Crescent Volunteers: A vital cog in vaccination | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 21, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:11 AM, February 21, 2021

Red Crescent Volunteers: A vital cog in vaccination

"Have you brought the vaccination card, sir?" Rubina Akter asks a middle-aged man who just arrived at a Covid-19 inoculation centre at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.

Once the man gives her the card, she takes him to a desk and helps him fill out a few forms. She then shows him the waiting room, saying, "You will be called soon."

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Rubina, a graduate student, is one of the 4,200 volunteers aged between 18 and 30 of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS). They are lending a hand in the government's vaccination programme.

They have been working at over 1,000 vaccination centres across the country since February 7 when the campaign launched. They only receive a meal and transport costs for the work.

"We enjoy giving back to the community," said a smiling Rubina at a DMCH vaccination centre on Thursday.

The positive attitude can be seen among volunteers at many vaccination centres across the country. They help people at the reception desks and assist them in every step of the process.

With academic activities limited to online classes, many students like Rubina have been able to find the time to engage in voluntary work.

At some centres, this correspondent saw the volunteers helping the elderly in wheelchairs. It is the volunteers who watch for side-effects in vaccine recipients for 30 minutes after they get the shot.

Shanto Hossain Rabby, an accounting student, said the voluntary work was a blessing for him.

"Many people do not get such opportunities to help others. I consider myself lucky," said Rabby, the chief of the youth section of BDRCS in Dhaka.

For Afia Ulpha, who is in her third year at Mirpur Institute of Science, Trade and Technology, voluntary work is a source of immense happiness.

"The smiling faces of people after they get inoculated give me peace," Afia told this correspondent at booth-8 in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital.

Halimur Rahman, a resident of Pallabi, was extremely grateful to the volunteers.

"I got my shot within just 10 minutes. The management is efficient. The health workers and volunteers are caring people," he said.

According to BDRCS officials, over 14,000 volunteers across the country are prepared to lend a hand, thanks to the cooperation of the Directorate General of Health Service (DGHS).

More of them will be engaged when the number of vaccination centres increases, they added.

"We cannot ensure all the logistics due to fund shortages. But the young volunteers are really committed," Imam Jafor Sikder, director of Youth and Volunteers at BDRCS, told The Daily Star.

BDRCS was constituted on March, 31, 1973.

Prof Nasima Sultana, additional director general (administration) at the DGHS, said, "The volunteers of the Red Crescent Society have been with us since the beginning of the pandemic. We are grateful and we appreciate their contributions."


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