Ambuja Cement Foundation launches COVID-19 Volunteer Program

Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) launched a COVID-19 Volunteer Program for community members to offer a cadre of volunteers to the local administration and health system in ACF locations. The Community Medicines Department of KEM Hospital, Mumbai also joined in as knowledge partners offering support in curriculum development, assessment and training of master trainers. The need for such a programme was seen during the second wave where health administrators were grappling for support in high-risk identification, manpower, and skilled support in securing oxygen cylinders, concentrators, ventilators and also managing beneficiaries during the vaccination drives. 

The program is launched in 13 locations including Chandrapur, Bhatapara, Chhindwara, Farakka, Sankrail, Ambujanagar, Rabriyawas, Bhatinda, Roorkee, Dadri, Ropar, Darlaghat and Nalagarh, with an aim to reach over 10,000 volunteers. There are also more than 100 master trainers who have been trained to run this program. 

Pearl Tiwari, Director and CEO, Ambuja Cement Foundation said, “At this crucial time, the health system appreciates all the support they can get. By creating such volunteers will not only provide them with support to work seamlessly but also help curb the virus in our remote geographies. We hope to involve as many individuals as possible and create a large group of volunteers for our local health departments.”

Volunteers eligible for this program will be individuals of 18 years and above, community health workers, SEDI trainees, COVID-19 warriors, NGO volunteers and security guards. The program is divided into two modules. The first module will cover aspects like basics of COVID-19, types of testing, difference in isolation & quarantine centres, referrals and vaccination preparedness. The second module will cover guidance on recording vitals, disposing biomedical waste, support with oxygen therapy and understanding Mucormycosis. The program is a 3-day course with 4 hours of training per day and practical training at a local health facility.

Before launching this program, ACF created Master Trainers who are qualified General Duty Assistant trainers from SEDI and Health Coordinators. These trainers underwent a 3 day rigorous training on the program organized by the health professor of KEM Hospital. The Master Trainers will then in turn carry out the training program for the volunteers in batches of 30 individuals.

Those volunteers who will complete theory and practical training at a satisfactory level in pre-post testing will be able to volunteer in hospitals and clinical settings supporting nursing staff and will be certified as technical volunteers. Those who will complete only theory and unable to complete practical at a satisfactory level will be considered non-technical and will be able to volunteer only with village level institutions and frontline workers. Upon completion of training, the local health department will be intimated with the list of volunteers available for any support required.

The technical volunteers will be able to offer support in recording vitals, support with oxygen therapy and assistance at isolation and quarantine centres. The non-technical volunteers will be able to offer support during vaccination drives, conduct village level surveys for high-risk identification, create awareness campaigns and support PRIs in strategy and liasoning.

ACF has carried out strategic interventions right through the pandemic to keep the community safe through community awareness by involving people institutions like SHGs, FPOs and frontline workers to deliver healthcare at the last mile. It has also provided oxygen support like concentrators, oxygen plants, cylinders, ventilators, antigen testing support and medical supplies. This two- way approach of awareness creation and medical support has indeed proved helpful for the local COVID-19 management team and can be strengthened even more with the trained community volunteers.