The evolution of the global health crisis represents both a challenge and an opportunity to prepare appropriate and prompt responses to various crisis situations. At the global level, the need for an integrated approach through interdisciplinary and international cooperation has become prominent. Such an approach has been recognised to be crucial for the rapid implementation of sustainable public health measures. The support of the European Union in preventing and combating potential bottlenecks has stimulated civil society intervention through volunteers from non-governmental organizations. The purpose of these interventions has been to support proactive and innovative solutions at the global level.
In Romania, through knowledge gained from previous experiences, the Red Cross volunteers have proven their capability in resource mobilisation, early response, and in making value-added contributions. The STAMINA Project‘s promotional activities in Romania succeeded in generating enthusiasm among the majority of the stakeholders in healthcare, as well as among the institutions responsible for the coordination and management of various crisis situations. The STAMINA team in Romania took on a rigorous approach to identify who to target as STAMINA’s members and supporters. We disseminated and processed responses from questionnaires held among healthcare specialists and the public. Furthermore, we have initiated awareness and support activities centred around preventing various potential crises.
Given the unpredictability of the pandemic and the global spotlight on pandemic preparedness and response based on the agenda set by the World Health Organization, an important opportunity to focus on the identification of appropriate responses to the unpredictable aspects of the crisis evolution has emerged. This has been leveraged through the use of social media to effectively disseminate good practices and generate tactics and rapid reactions to handle the evolution of various pandemic situations. Proactive communication techniques were utilised to extend the influence of the project through social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, among others.
The benefit of identifying and utilising interconnection with other projects and initiatives with a similar goal has been well recognised. For instance, the Red Cross Bucharest District 5 Branch is a key connection as it is actively involved within networks that are influential in the medical, social, and intergenerational educational fields (Senior-NET Network, PRO-Health Network). Moreover, we ensure representation of the marginalised and organise activities through the kind support of the Romanian Senate, such as Children’s Day and Open Days.
It is worth highlighting that, thanks to the public success and impact seen by the STAMINA project, the President of the Romanian Senate offered the High Patronage of the Romanian Senate to host future dissemination activities of the project.
The promotion of the STAMINA project has seen a strong impact on the target audiences in Romania. The direct contribution of the Red Cross Volunteers was essential in building bridges and educating citizens in the spirit of solidarity. Together, members of the public, students, medical staff, personnel from several areas of expertise have demonstrated, throughout the project, the incredible impact produced by mobilization. More specifically, the volunteers of the Red Cross Bucharest District 5 Branch made direct contributions to the following activities:
- dissemination and processing of responses of questionnaires that were distributed to the general public in the metro stations, in November and December 2020;
- involvement in the awareness-raising and responsabilisation campaign of direct beneficiaries, i.e., the importance of the implementation of protection measures during the pandemic;
- providing official, up-to-date information on the importance of the role of vaccination that was carried out in parallel with other related activities in other ongoing projects and likely to contribute to the effectiveness of the results of the whole STAMINA project.
We have no doubt that the Red Cross will continue to inspire in supporting solidarity, goodness, and humanitarian values. The Red Cross and the Romania STAMINA team will work together on writing the findings of the STAMINA Project, with a strong commitment to the ethical use of technology for societal good. We anticipate the contribution of our volunteers to have continued importance such as during trial simulations, field-testing of methods and STAMINA tools, and in obtaining feedback on the effectiveness of the current management of the pandemic.
“In order to develop good practices in the field of pandemic prevention, control and resolution, not only in Romania, but also in a regional and European context – any commitment matters!” – says Dragoș, Red Cross volunteer, a medical student involved in the treatment of COVID-19 infected patients and working on combating the spread of the new coronavirus.