Tehran Times – Barbara Rizzoli, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Tehran, has said the actions taken by the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) to battle COVID-19 outbreak were very significant in various fields, including prevention and treatment. She made the remarks during a joint press conference held in Tehran on Tuesday to mark the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, with IRCS chief, Karim Hemmati, in attendance.
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is celebrated annually on 8 May, which is the anniversary of the birth of Henry Dunant, who was born on 8 May 1828. He was the founder of ICRC and the recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize. “Humanity, impartiality, justice, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality are recognized as the seven international principles of the movement that are at the forefront of our work,” Rizzoli highlighted.
These seven principles have led 80 million members of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent to work together, regardless of their nationality, tastes, or background. The best example of this is with the outbreak of COVID-19, services provided by Red Crescent volunteers who are struggling to cope with the disease, she explained. She also mentioned those who lost their lives during this period in the service and said that “We must always pay tribute to these people.”
In the fight against coronavirus, the IRCS, along with the Ministry of Health and other responsible organizations, has undertaken important activities, from rapid diagnosis and screening to providing medical services and shelter, she noted, adding, but the most important activity of this population has been informing the public about healthcare and treatment.
The ICRC has supported the Iranian Red Crescent Society as much as possible, one of the contributions was the payment of 500,000 Swiss francs, she stated. “Supporting and holding joint activities is another field of activity. For example, we cooperated with the IRCS in educating the dangers of landmines, as well as producing educational tips on COVID-19,” she explained.
“We also support an NGO in the eastern part of the country, specifically in Mashhad city, which is providing personal protective equipment,” she said, “because we believe that during epidemics, the importance of some activities multiplies and we need to pay more attention to them and support them.” The actions taken by the IRCS during this period were very significant and cover a wide range of activities in various fields, including prevention and treatment, she emphasized.
She cited the ICRC’s communications network, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as well as more than 200 national populations which are connected with each other at the same time. She also stressed the importance of national populations in crises such as the pandemic, as what the Iranian Red Crescent Society is doing these days.
Referring to some measures taken by the IRCS regarding the prevention of the virus throughout the country, Hemmati in April noted that since the onset of the outbreak, more than 980 voluntary plans and projects to contain the epidemic has been implemented across the country, with 72,694 volunteers participating in the implementation of these projects.
The first phase of public donations was allocated to provide health and essential items for the deprived and unprivileged areas, and besides, 500,000 patients suffering special diseases were provided with essential health items, he explained.
Through the second phase, the IRCS, to provide medical items for COVID-19 patients in hospitals, purchased 100 ventilators worth approximately 160 billion rials (around $3.8 million), 52 devices have been provided with the help of charities and public participation, Hemmati concluded.