By Faranak Bakhtiari

Social work’s vital role in fight against pandemic

December 7, 2020 - 17:45

TEHRAN – With the outbreak of coronavirus, many people globally faced fear, stress, and depression after being isolated and dealing with an invisible virus, so that social work’s importance is becoming increasingly apparent.

In many countries, social workers are supporting communities that are affected or fearful of the COVID-19. Social work has an essential frontline role in the fight against the virus through supporting communities through physical distancing and social solidarity.

Key functions of social work include ensuring that the most vulnerable are included in planning and response, organizing communities to ensure that essentials such as food and clean water are available; advocating within social services and in policy environments that services adapt, remain open and pro-active in supporting communities and vulnerable populations.

As a profession, advocating for the advancement and strengthening of health and social services is essential protection against the virus, inequality, and the consequent social and economic challenges.

Strengthening social solidarity and global connectedness

World Social Work Day is celebrated annually on the third Tuesday of each March.

In 2021, it will be held on March 16. It is the key day in the year that social workers worldwide stand together to advance a common message globally. The 2021 World Social Day highlights Úbuntu: I am Because We Are. This is the first theme of the 2020 to 2030 Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development.

At a time when global politics has retreated into nationalism, Ubuntu is a powerful message on the need for solidarity at all levels: within communities, societies, and globally. It is a message that all people are interconnected and that our future is dependent on recognizing all people’s involvement in co-building a sustainable, fair, and socially just future.

Dealing with pandemic through psycho-social support

In Iran, the social work scientific association has made efforts to prepare a program for psycho-social support of people in dealing with the pandemic through offering consulting services; in addition to producing content on maintaining mental health during quarantine or long stay at home.

The International Federation of Social Workers has praised the actions of Iranian social workers in countering coronavirus in April.

Seyed Hassan Mousavi Chalak, head of the Iranian Social Workers Association, said that the Association reported the first phase of the activities of social workers during the coronavirus pandemic in the country to the International Federation of Social Workers.

The presence of social workers in medical centers, working with people with disabilities, women, children, addicts, the elderly, the homeless, the relief committee, etc. was described in this report. 

Also, providing guidance to people, whether in social media, on a phone conversation or in-person, preparing scientific content related to the coronavirus, compiling guidelines on socio-psychological support, identifying patients, attending convalescent centers, offering services in informal settlements, prisons, and judicial centers are another part of the measures of social workers in Iran mentioned in the report.

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