Most of our members continue to offer direct care services to their beneficiaries, while adapting their activities to the pandemic
By Montse Rafel, Director-General – We are currently facing an pandemic unprecedented in the modern era; a situation that is testing our entire society and bringing to light the best, and sometimes the worst, in human beings. In the frontlines of this commitment, of course, are all the caregivers and health professionals working in hospitals and homes for the elderly, who take risks every day to relieve pain and save lives in the face of a highly contagious virus. Behind them, in the rear, millions of people worldwide are currently confined home. Their role is simple: to get out as little as possible and help slow down the pandemic as much as possible and thus avoid overloading the medical teams and the precious intensive care beds. A simple role, but not an easy one, because even if basic needs are assured, we must continue to look after our loved ones, take good care of children and everyone else.
In our fight against the pandemic, there is also a second essential line of people who continue to perform essential functions to keep society standing: supermarket employees, police officers, truck drivers, road maintenance and garbage collection workers, power plant workers, etc.
It would be impossible to name them all, but all of them are everyday heroes, simply because they put the public interest before their own.
A lack of essential equipment
Among these heroes of the second line, I would also like to mention all the professionals who currently continue to ensure the daily operations in services for populations in need: alcohol and other drug users, dissocialized minors, the homeless and other people in highly vulnerable situations. Among these, of course, are all the teams that work within the services managed by the members of the Dianova network.
Many professionals are currently working in our centers. Psychologists, social workers, educators, therapeutic monitors and many others are today relatively powerless in the face of the pandemic due to the lack of essential equipment.
In our shelters for the homeless in India, in our addiction treatment centres in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Chile, Uruguay, everyone is working tirelessly to apply the official recommendations and protocols and thus ensure maximum health security for residents and staff.
But all, without exception, make the same observation as Alfredo Ibáñez, director of the Can Parellada therapeutic community in Spain: “We are very concerned about the lack of protective material for our residents staff members. We’ve made requests to competent administrations, but so far we’ve not received a single thing. We don’t have the necessary equipment.”
And icing on the cake, some administrations have announced that they will not pay the beneficiaries’ living expenses until May, which could lead to the closure of the centres concerned. Still, their functioning is essential and we must help them.
Our priority now is to ensure the well-being of our residents by means of adapted activities and in compliance with current standards of hygiene and social distancing. Among these activities, many have set up reading activities, information and prevention workshops on Covid-19, as well as music, cinema, and zumba workshops, etc. Residents have written encouragement letters to hospital patients and the elderly. And, of course, online and video-conference communications with families have been extended.
In Dianova’s facilities in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Uruguay alone, more than 500 people are now housed in our residential centers.
The Dianova Chile Foundation has chosen to forego all direct care services by developing a free telephone and online support service so as not to interrupt the treatment process, in the hope that the administration will provide them with the necessary financial support.
Our associate members, have also mobilized everyone. In India, for example, the SPYM association houses about 1,000 indoor residents in its treatment centres, opioid substitution programmes and night shelters, and staff members are working tirelessly to implement WHO recommendations. In addition, due to lockdown, the association is providing lunch and dinner to more than 6,000 homeless people and daily wagers in Delhi since last week.
In conclusion, I would like to thank each and every one of you! We are immensely grateful for the work you do. And to all our beneficiaries, hang in there!