Paramedics work tirelessly to ensure all the patients with suspected cases of COVID-19 receive medical attention. The volunteers of the Mexican Red Cross have been working hard throughout the past several months of the pandemic, providing support to the country’s medical services.
More than 50,000 people have died in Mexico due to COVID-19. For this reason, the work of the Mexican Red Cross’ health care workers is divided into different parts. With all the precaution and security measures, they first analyze the patient's situation; then they give them all the information about what to do according to their symptoms; and then the patient is transferred to a hospital.
The Red Cross is an international humanitarian assistance organization. It helps in dangerous situations, such as natural disasters, providing health services. The organization finances its aid, assistance, and education programs through the work of thousands of volunteers and donations from individuals, institutions, organizations, associations, and companies.
They have 1,026 doctors and more than 2,400 ambulances. Emergency care is free and available 24/7 all year round.
Global Citizen spoke with Ana Laura Robles Quijano, national fundraising coordinator at the Mexican Red Cross, and she explained all the essential work the organization is doing during the pandemic.
Global Citzen: How is the Mexican Red Cross working to respond during the pandemic?
Ana Laura Robles Quijano: We are learning to change, to adapt to the new situation. We’re doing training in biosafety measures, implementing prevention and health promotion campaigns, strengthening our volunteer networks at the national level, and in the use of ICTs [information and communications technologies].
You work on the front lines in the fight against this pandemic. What are the main needs that you see in different communities?
Among the main needs that we find, we can see that many have had to modify their behavior; many people are suffering from emotional discomfort due to confinement. In addition, among the most important needs, we see communities that suffer from economic deprivation and some of them don’t even have food to eat for them or their children, because they had to stop working.
How do you work to address those needs?
We work through the implementation of activities and programs focused on community resilience to adapt to the situation and to influence the strengthening of the social networks of the beneficiaries so that they are supported [in] food needs and disease prevention. And we also work to have companies and other productive sectors of the country support our community education campaigns, such as the delivery of food, hygiene, cleaning and baby kits, focused on the prevention of diseases through supplies, infrastructure material, and [cash assistance].
How has your daily work changed as a result of the pandemic?
Our model was modified in two ways: internally — because now our collaborators are receiving training about pandemic environments, learning to use biosecurity equipment, and implementing more efficient mechanisms — and externally, the work we do with the communities is now different. We are now using different strategies to make the communities understand what we do and identify with our mission and with the values that protect us all. We work with them to help them become partners of our programs and humanitarian activities. And we also offer online training and education programs.
What is the most inspiring thing you have seen as the world battles COVID-19?
It is really moving and inspiring to see the level of moral development of the Red Cross collaborators who are helping. Despite the stigmas and physical attacks they receive, they help and are committed to updating their knowledge in biosecurity.
How can Global Citizens help your efforts?
We have an online volunteer program. They can help in activities like online programs, orientation programs for physical and mental health professionals. We also work with partners, and offer training such as the emergency volunteer protocol.
This interview has been translated from Spanish into English, and has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.