UAE Volunteers campaign to provide 3-day training for volunteers to support health emergency response teams

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DUBAI: The UAE Volunteers campaign started a training program for volunteers to support health emergency response teams and nursing staff. The training will provide volunteers with nursing skills in 3 days only, to enable them to support experts on the field and provide medical and nursing services that support the national efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Obaid Al Shamsi, Director General of National Emergency, Crisis, and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), said that the “UAE Volunteers” campaign, with the support of the Higher National Committee for Regulating Volunteering during Crisis, the volunteers.ae platform supervised by the MCD and the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, and the support of (NCEMA); managed to attract over 8,000 volunteers who possess first aid basic skills and experience to work under pressure and within teams. From this group, 150 volunteers signed up in the pilot phase of the training upon its launch.

Al Shamsi added, “This volunteer training is a response to the current situation in the country and to the needs of experts on the field. The training will equip 1,000 volunteers with basic skills to help the nursing staff, hospitals, and field units in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah in the pilot phase. The program will continue to attract more volunteers as needed.”

Al Shamsi also explained that the intensive training program was prepared by a team from the Abu Dhabi Center for Public Health of the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi. The training will be carried out in cooperation with the Training and Development Center at the Ministry of Health and Community Protection, and the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), with the participation of expert trainers from various health and academic sectors. The primary goal of this training is to relieve some of the pressure that the medical and nursing staff are experiencing.

Hessa Tahlak, Assistant Undersecretary of Social Development in the Ministry of Community Development (MCD), and the spokesperson of the UAE Volunteers campaign added, the training aims to support healthcare emergencies and front line medical and nursing staff, and in the long-term to develop a strategic plan for the “After COVID-19” initiative. This initiative includes the following measures:

– Preparing a database for volunteers who are trained as medical staff assistants during crises; – Using this database to develop response plans during crises, emergencies, and disasters; – Welcoming individuals who are interested in developing their skills and enrolling in health programs to obtain specialized accredited certificates; – Encouraging national talent to join supportive medical specialties; – Promoting nursing as a profession for young people of both genders; – Encouraging volunteerism by offering the youth suitable opportunities to ensure their continuous development.

Hessa Tahlak explained registration requirements in the theoretical and practical components of the training. For the remote theoretical training, 150 participants will take part in each course for 8 hours a day for two days. This theoretical component will introduce the program, present information about COVID-19, explain infection prevention, and cover skills in health administration, communication, patient support and transportation, and medical waste management. Participants will undergo a remote training test.

As for the practical training, it is available for 24 participants for 4 hours during one day. The practical training will cover basic clinical skills such as measuring vital signs, resuscitation and rescue skills, and the use of personal protective equipment. Participants will undergo an evaluation test and obtain certificates of completion that are approved by the training authority

The UAE Volunteers campaign is implementing the pilot stage of the training with an integrated plan. The first cohort of volunteers was selected, and the first training course started at the Training Center of the Ministry of Health and Community Protection in Sharjah. The second cohort started in the UAEU in Al Ain. The final test and assignment of tasks will follow, and volunteers will be assigned to the nursing team in the field hospital. From each group of volunteers, a supervisor will be selected to ensure their effectiveness in the field and assess their performance and impact.

Volunteers will be employed on a need and location basis. A schedule will be prepared for the volunteers, and their work progress will be monitored. Daily work reports, updates, satisfaction levels, and the program impact evaluation after 10 days will also be prepared. The pilot phase will be evaluated based on the effectiveness of participants to ensure that the training course achieved its goal in supporting the medical and nursing staff.

This training course aimed at facing health emergencies and supporting medical and nursing staff was only possible thanks to the support of a number of federal and local authorities, namely:

– The Abu Dhabi Center for Public Health of the Health Department, which designed programs and provided training materials and trainers; – The NCEMA, which identified needs and the required number of volunteers to support the nursing staff and offered training sites and requirements; – The Training and Development Center at the Ministry of Health and Community Protection, which provided training sites, specialized trainers, and equipment; assigned volunteers as needed to field hospitals and medical centers; and provided an electronic training platform; – The College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the UAEU, which provided trainers and equipment for the course and offered logistical support and training sites; – The UAE Armed Forces, which offered their expertise in organizing emergency response and nursing programs for the military and acted as consultants in the development of the current program; – The Dubai Health Authority, which offered expertise in developing the program and offered trainers and training sites: – The Emirates Foundation, which offered the volunteers.ae platform through which volunteers are selected according to specific requirements, and which provided volunteer supervisors to assess the effectiveness of participants in field work.

The UAE Volunteers campaign announced by the Higher National Committee for Regulating Volunteering during Crisis, was launched in early April, under the umbrella of the volunteers.ae platform, in a partnership between the MCD and the EFYD, and under the supervision of the NCEMA, as part of its vision to unify voluntarism in the country, ensure integration between government and private sectors, involve the community, ensure cohesion in the UAE, and support national efforts to curb COVID-19.

The national campaign aims to support volunteers in the country, harness the experiences, skills, and talents of the members of society and involve them in volunteering, through both field placements and virtual volunteering opportunities, within an integrated and sustainable system of volunteerism during crises.

It is worth noting that the volunteers.ae platform offers citizens and residents interested in volunteering in the UAE Volunteers campaign both field and virtual volunteering opportunities under the umbrella of the Higher National Committee for Regulating Volunteering during Crisis.

Anyone interested in volunteering can visit the www.volunteers.ae platform, call VOLAE 800 (80086523), or e-mail: [email protected]

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