100,000 BRAC staff, volunteers working in communities to raise awareness.
BRAC has instructed all non-essential staff working at its head office in the capital’s Mohakhali to stay at home and work online from 22-25 March as a preventive measure against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. Approximately 2,000 members of staff work at the head office and non-essential employees constitute those who are not involved in responding to the coronavirus crisis.
BRAC Executive Director Asif Saleh said the decision has been taken as part of BRAC’s initiative to support the National Response Plan to maximise the organisation’s impact. The staff will be notified of further actions by Thursday, 19 March.
All BRAC staff at the field offices across the country will also maintain curtailed activities, Saleh said.
He also urged employees to avoid non-essential travels and said the interim measures will continue for a week, adding the decision will be reviewed on 28 March.
In the meantime, BRAC’s field officials working under different programmes across the country have been instructed to join the force of its health programme and act as health volunteers in different awareness campaigns for Coronavirus prevention.
“We have 50,000 community health volunteers across the country and 45,000 members of our own staff have joined the force to raise awareness against Coronavirus,” Saleh said.
Aside from working in the fields, BRAC is using its social media platforms to raise awareness. Relevant content on proper handwashing and respiratory hygiene is being regularly promoted through BRAC Facebook page and blog. BRAC has also set up a dedicated web portal http://www.brac.net/covid19/ on BRAC website where people can access concrete, reliable and updated information.
Having said that, BRAC is fully prepared to assist the Government of Bangladesh in its fight against Coronavirus. Asif Saleh also called upon the authorities to decentralise the COVID-19 testing facilities across the country to deal with the situation more efficiently.
“Currently, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research is the sole authority to test Coronavirus. Considering the huge number of service seekers, the government may decentralise the facilities to other hospitals across the country with necessary kits to help provide identification and treatment services,” said Saleh.