As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted lives at an unprecedented pace and scale worldwide, the non-governmental organization Relief International has partnered with the Department of Health and Unicef to convince more people to get vaccinated.
In one of its door-to-door campaigns in a local community, the NGO met Demetrio Fuentes, a 57-year-old driver whose livelihood has been severely affected by the pandemic.
Despite his situation, Fuentes knows that there is something that ordinary citizens like him can do to curb the health crisis.
“I got myself vaccinated against COVID-19 because I wanted to protect myself and my family,” he said.
He also urged his fellow drivers, considered as economic frontliners, to get inoculated.
“Get vaccinated. It is not only for yourself and for your family, but also for the welfare of our passengers,” he said.
Fuentes lamented that government assistance remained insufficient.
“The aid we received, which we used to buy a sack of rice and groceries, only lasts for two weeks. We survived with the government’s SAP [Social Amelioration Program] grant and the local government unit’s provision of food items, but there was also a time when I posted on Facebook if people could help me because we no longer had anything to eat,” he said.
When asked how ordinary people can help the government against the COVID-19, Fuentes said: “People’s movement should be restricted [to control the virus]. We should also wear a face mask at all times. This is to help the economy recover and make lockdowns unnecessary.”
This Christmas, his wish is simple: for life to go back to normal again.
The BIDA Solusyon + sa COVID-19, the DOH’s information campaign against the pandemic, is one concrete measure toward attaining normalcy. The campaign aims to motivate Filipinos to participate actively in the fight against COVID-19 by implementing the minimum public health standards, which can be summed up in four letters: Bawal walang mask; I-sanitize ang mga kamay, iwas-hawak sa mga bagay; Dumistansya ng isang metro, at Alamin ang totoong impormasyon.
The DOH has already started pediatric vaccination for minors 12 to 17 years old and booster shots for health frontliners, seniors, and immunocompromised persons with comorbidity.
Relief International is a champion of BIDA Solusyon. Through its Risk Communication and Community engagement work, RI is able to promote vaccination through group learning sessions in which the communities are made to understand that vaccines are safe and life-saving for everyone. It also capacitated health workers and other frontliners on emerging communications strategies and techniques on the effective delivery of COVID-19 messages and provided technical assistance by helping LGUs with their programs.
RI also builds partnerships that help augment the conversation on COVID-19, and is currently working with KonsultaMD for its one-month free consultation offer using the voucher code FREEKONSULTA.