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It has been a week since Tran Diem My, a student of Ha Noi Medical University, began volunteering.
She is supporting the National Steering Committee to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
My is getting used to her job investigating airline passengers entering Vietnam who may have been exposed to coronavirus.
Her tasks include making phone calls and contacting with passengers who travelled on certain flights, creating a database and classifying passengers so the national steering committee can identify risks.
It may sound simple, ringing passengers and jotting down a few notes, but the workload is so huge there’s little time for chit chat.
“We work from 6.30am to between 2 and 3am the following morning,” My said, adding that speed is essential, and they must contact potential carriers as soon as possible.
“Our work has been more stressful in the last few days as more and more people return to Vietnam due to complicated developments of COVID-19 in other countries.”
Working at the office of Health Ministry is near her house but My said she spends little time at home.
Instead, she and her colleagues stay at the office so they can work around the clock if required.
My said as soon as the first COVID-19 infection cases were detected in Vietnam, medical students like her started researching the disease.
Loaded with information, they also take in as many training courses offered by their universities, Ha Noi’s Centre for Diseases Control and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.
“Until now, all students in my class volunteered joining COVID-19 prevention and control,” My said, adding they were are confident in their abilities, because they are trained and equipped with the necessary knowledge.
Nguyen Cong Minh, a fourth-year student of the Public Health University is working in Xuan Tao Ward, Bac Tu Liem District to investigate and detect suspected infections.
The team is also instructing local people to properly implement quarantine and isolation.
“As soon as two COVID-19 infections were announced in the district, we worked harder with intensive preventive actions,” Minh said.
“In the last few days, we are busy reviewing local households, searching for suspected cases and for those who have close contact with patients as well as making plans for disinfecting the neighbourhood,” he said.
“Things are made easier as most people are very constructive and co-operative in carrying disease prevention and control. They aware of the need to protect their health and obtain consultations from healthcare workers,” Minh said.
Head of Youth Union in Ha Noi Medical University, Do Nam Khanh said My was one of 124 students joining disease prevention and control activities of the Health Ministry and Ha Noi’s Health Department.
All of the volunteering students are studying Preventive Medicines or Public Health.
A group of 27 students is supporting National Steering Committee’s investigations department while 48 students are helping Ha Noi’s Centre for Diseases Control in the epidemic investigation at Noi Bai Airport, quarantine areas.
They help take samples for tests as well as processing data.
The other 50 are working at the Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in both direct and indirect work relating to disease prevention and control.
“We get good feedback about the students’ performance. They work with high responsibilities and very effectively,” Khanh said.
Vice-principal of Public Health University Nguyen Thanh Ha said responding to requests from the National Steering Committee, more than 200 students signed up to help.
When Bac Tu Liem District authority called out for support, within half a day, 252 students of the university registered to volunteer.
“Students not only contribute to the community but also get chances to practise what they learn,” Ha said. “We can do it.”
Responding to the call from the Health Ministry, healthcare workers, medical teachers and students nationwide are ready to join the fight against COVID-19.
They are asked to sharpen their skills to effectively prevent and control the disease, look after patients, conduct tests and detect infections as well as carry out preventive measures in the community.
Thousands of medical students nationwide have registered to help reduce the burden and pressure for their seniors.
Professor and Dr Ta Thanh Van, Principal of Ha Noi Medical University said during the crisis, medical students kept studying at school and work.
“The medical students join the fight as a way to contribute to the community,” Van said, adding that medical staff was on the frontline battling the disease and medical students were the future soldiers with no fears for their own safety.
“If we fear, we won’t allow our students to take that voluntary work. We always place the students’ safety as a top priority,” Van said.
Khanh from the university’s Youth Union said medical students had the advantages of youth, skills and knowledge so they confidently join the fight.
First Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Le Quoc Phong said March 26 marked the 89th anniversary of the union and March was usually chosen as Youth Month which was featured with dozens of activities by young people nationwide contributing to the community.
“Youth Month this year is special as young people nationwide have been working with the whole country in the fight against COVID-19,” Phong said.
Following previous generations, Vietnamese young people still act with the same slogan “Ready to go anywhere and do anything when the country needs.”
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