For the first time, the world was shocked by the discovery of an “Unusual Pneumonia” at the end of 2019, later known as the Corona Virus Disease (Covid-19/2019-nCov) in Wuhan, China. As WHO (World Health Organization) warned many countries to take precaution and be prepared. Indonesian Government started preparing necessities to face the disaster. Initially, the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo announced on the 2nd of march 2020, 2 people were infected (a mother and a child) by the Covid-19 virus.
After the announcement, the people reactively responded by buying any daily needs at some shopping centres. Masks and Hand Sanitizers suddenly became rare items. Information that were circulating became confusing, forming variety of opinions that causing people to worry.
The movement of the virus is quite quick. The virus first entered to Indonesia through foreigners who came to the country. The virus has now spread to 148 countries, with 169.387 cases has been confirmed and 6.513 people around the world died from the virus (The Centre for Systems Science and Engineering of Johns Hopkins University). Until Monday (16 March) afternoon, Indonesia confirmed 117 patients with Covid-19, 5 people died from the virus and 8 people have recovered.
The situation that is now developing requires cooperation from various parties by prioritizing the standard protocol. Indonesian Government has defined the situation as a National Non-Natural Disaster. The spreading has reached 8 provincial area in Indonesia
The people of Indonesia has given full trust to the President and the Government to work and handle the situation. Because it is proven that the work that has been done shows their seriousness. Starting from picking up 245 Indonesian Citizens from China. Followed by the Government provides Hotline for Covid-19 by the number 119 ext 9 for emergency services. Prepared 132 referral hospitals for handling the Covid-19 according to Minister of Health of The Republic of Indonesia decree Number HK.01.07/MENKES/169/2020 that covers up the area of Aceh to Papua. Then evacuating 188 Indonesian crew of the World Dream cruise in Subaru Island, and socializing about maintaining cleanliness and how to wash hands properly.
Fight the Covid-19
As an ordinary human being, Social Workers certainly have worries to the current situation. How not to worry? The case happened so quickly and many people were affected by the virus. Even this kind of “life test”, happened in the month of Social Work. The impact, every preparation to celebrate World Social Work Day 2020 has to be cancelled. Many agendas that were prepared has to be cancelled for the sake of public’s safeness.
The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) has worked fast to observe the situation and condition of its members all around the world. The news that are published are important for every country to pay attention to, especially for Social Workers to be prepared. We have to fight our own fear. This year’s unique theme “Promoting The Importance of Human Relationship” is also to test us all to prove how we can fully participate, together with other professionals to help each other and serve the world.
Without paying attention to differences and lines between people, finally everyone has the consciousness that Social Workers must take part. Particularly on taking promotive and preventive action in the environment and in respective communities. Ensuring healthy life and promoting welfare to all and stopping the potential of spreading the virus became joint responsibility. Every element of the society needs to understand about the Covid-19 in order to not raising fear and perception of the people so they abstain the war against the virus.
We have seen how China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, France and other countries that has the highest number of people infected sequentially struggling hard. So, should we give up? I don’t think we should, I remember what Jane Addams said, “Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpected effort that might have saved the world”. Therefore, there’s no other way than to fight together!
First, we must fight our fear! Everyone surely feels it, but then again it should not distract our awareness that what is currently happening is what we should be facing. Second, we must fight hoax news that are giving us false information in resulting the society become more frightened. Third, we must fight the Covid-19 Virus by promoting on doing social distancing, keeping body’s sanitary, using safe equipment’s, self-isolation and to do health checks and to maintain health ethics when meeting people.
Lastly, Social Workers are expected to involve in advocating together with other professionals in planning safety protocols to calm people’s worries. At least some of the role of Social Worker are to; 1) Ensure the list of planning and disaster response for the vulnerable (elderly, breastfeeding/pregnant mothers, people with disability, and children); 2) Organizing the people for the availability of basic needs; 3) Planning the standard protocols if there are any people in the neighbourhood infected by the Virus; 4) Social Workers are able to arrange a strategic communication pattern (Online/ Telephone) to the people who are isolated to give consultation and someone to speak to in order to calm them down during the process of isolation (this is important/ urgent matter for the people at risk); 5) Social Worker together with other professionals to give Psychosocial Support to families affected.
Together, the government and the people, we are able to stand up and fight Covid-19 Virus that the world is currently facing. Finally, with all modesty and respect to all Social Worker colleagues around the world, I would like to say Happy World Social Work Day 2020! Thank you for all your hard work, and never stop to create! Ab Initio, Ab Imo Pectore, Ad Infinitum (House of Social Worker).
Oleh: Maykel Ifan, M.Sos
Vice Chairman – Indonesian Association of Social Workers | Founder & Chief of Social Work Sketch (SWS) | Lecturer of STISIP Widuri