This statement contains information on planned IFSW events and the role of social workers in the fight against the Corona Virus:
Social workers are proactively supporting communities and societies in many countries around the world in the fight against the Corona Virus. The social work role is essential in assisting people with their trauma/anxieties, providing education on safe social practices and advising on the community role in supporting each other. On behalf of the Federation, Silvana Martinez and Rory Truell send a message of solidarity and support to all social workers preforming these vital roles.
IFSW is acting to ensure the safety and appropriate coordination of international social work events. The Federation is vigorously monitoring all IFSW planned activities including the World Conference of Social Work and the IFSW General Meeting commencing in July in Calgary Canada. The Federation will take every action to maximise that participants to all planned IFSW events are safe and that risks are effectively managed.
At this point in time, IFSW will not plan or proceed with any international events in highly affected areas. National Associations of Social Work in highly affected areas are recommended to follow the World Health Organisation and local authorities’ guidelines with regard to inviting overseas guests and holding gatherings. We also request that if you have international visitors to check and advise participants on the restrictions in transiting airports the how their future travel will be affected by visiting your country. We further recommend that flexibility be offered to refund registration costs should your event be cancelled as a consequence of the Virus.
IFSW has appointed a ‘Corona Virus Response Officer’ who will be working closely with host organisations that are inviting international representatives to ensure that safety policies are in place. These include a ‘no kiss, no handshake protocol’; that hand sanitizers be widely available for all participants; that information systems of responding to people with illness symptoms are in place; that volunteers and all conference facilitators are trained to support best social hygiene practices, and that participants are sent appropriate guidelines before coming to the event.
IFSW fully supports WHO’s global coordinated efforts to combat the virus and its call for global solidarity and resources. We are aware that social work is critical in the fight against this virus and will place on the agenda of all meetings a focus on strengthening the social work role in combating the virus. The profession has significant experience in providing essential social education and support to communities in the fight against Ebola and HIV /AIDS and we have every confidence that social work will also play a significant role in defeating this virus.
Dra. Silvana Martinez, IFSW President, Dr. Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary-General and Dr. Kathy Wehrmann, IFSW Corona Virus Response Officer.