KARACHI: The Sindh government has inducted some 3,000 volunteers — more than 30 among them are doctors and over 300 IT professionals — in less than a week on its appeal to fight the growing number of coronavirus cases, receiving “tremendous response” mainly from the people of Karachi, which forced the authorities to call off the induction till the next phase, officials and sources said on Thursday.
They said that amid the growing number of coronavirus cases in Sindh, the provincial government had called for the induction of volunteers who could help authorities in its campaign for containing the pandemic.
The government appealed to the people from all walks of life to “join hands to fight against emergencies”. In less than a week, it had registered 3,000 people, mostly youngsters, for the job.
“Among these 3,000 registered volunteers, there are 35 doctors and over 300 IT professionals,” director general of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Sindh, Syed Salman Shah, told Dawn.
‘We have decided not to put them on the front line of this challenge and utilise them on the back end’
“We have distributed these volunteers in three categories considering their areas of interest and expertise. There is a category of health volunteers which includes doctors, paramedics and pharmacists and then there is second one of IT professionals. Finally, there are volunteers who fall in the final category, named general category. They would be utilised in different tasks to help implement government policies during the course of this fight against the coronavirus.”
The plan to induct volunteers came from the PDMA after officials of the organisation held a meeting with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali last week to brief him on the efforts made so far and a future line of action where the two sides agreed that amid the fears of more positive cases, the number of people handling the patients and those contributing to contain the virus spread could fall short.
DG Shah of the PDMA said that a sizeable number of volunteers had already started working and many more were ready to get connected with the respective organisations to play their role.
“In the first phase, we have decided not to put them on front line of this challenge and utilise them on the back end. That’s the reason that we have started availing services of our IT professionals, who are coordinating with different organisations at this crucial time, offering key services and providing them IT solutions,” he said.
He said the PDMA had received a “tremendous” response, beyond its expectations, and it had stopped the process to induct new volunteers. Once the first batch of volunteers met, the PDMA would go for a second phase of induction, he added.
He said the Sindh CM had been active and personally monitoring the situation and issued directives for volunteers to be part of his team working across the province in different areas. The volunteers, he said, would be asked to offer help considering their area of interest.
“We at the PDMA believe that natural calamities and emergencies demand a planned, swift and coordinated response at all levels of society. With a collective response, nations stand up in difficult times,” he added.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2020