Left Menu
Development News Edition

Volunteers rally for elderly Russians isolated in pandemic

PTI | Moscow | Updated: 28-03-2020 17:19 IST | Created: 28-03-2020 16:49 IST
Volunteers rally for elderly Russians isolated in pandemic
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

Standing outside her front door with a leather jacket pulled over her pajamas, Alma Shayakhmetova takes a bag of groceries and medicines from volunteers. At 67 she is in the most vulnerable age group ordered to stay at home by Moscow authorities to prevent them from getting infected with the coronavirus.

A group of young Russians called Medical Volunteers many of them medical students take orders from the elderly over the phone, and bring them right to their door. They still have to pay for their shopping, but the delivery is free.

For Shayakhmetova's order, the volunteers in face masks and surgical gloves went to a supermarket beside her block of flats for kefir, bread, milk, sunflower oil, bananas, and flour. They also picked up a common non-prescription heart medicine from a pharmacy.

Since Thursday, Muscovites aged over 65 or with chronic conditions are not supposed to leave their homes, a measure to last at least until April 14. Moscow has paid 2,000 rubles ($25) as compensation for extra expenses and promised the same payout when restrictions are lifted at least for those who observe them.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin also rescinded the right to free public transport for those over 65 to stop them from making unnecessary journeys. Some have criticized the measures as both draconian and stingy, particularly hitting those still working in retirement.

But Shayakhmetova said she supported them. "It's better to be home," she said, adding she had been shocked by television footage of patients in intensive care.

"If we are all disciplined, naturally this will all be in a milder form." Russia has reported a steady increase in coronavirus cases, with 1,264 infections and four deaths according to Friday's official tally. Many elderly confined at home find it hard to shop at a distance: Forty percent of Russians aged over 60 don't use the Internet, according to a survey last year by state polling agency VTsIOM, which rules out online supermarkets for them.

"I was just watching television, saw the number and called," Shayakhmetova said of the volunteer service. "We elderly wouldn't be able to manage without this project," said the retired English teacher who also cares for her elderly father. "I don't need to go to a shop, they bring it all to me." The campaign to help those isolated due to the coronavirus is very much a top-down initiative rather than a grassroots one.

The group is working in conjunction with the All-Russian Popular Front, which organizes events and rallies for supporters of President Vladimir Putin. The delivery service is promoted on a website called "We are together 2020," which has recruited around 9,000 volunteers across Russia and 400 in the capital.

Moscow coordinator Aliya Kochesokova is just 19 but she said the volunteer campaign as a whole is "supervised by the presidential administration" and "personally by Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin)." The trade and industry ministry has donated more than 200,000 face masks to the volunteers, who wear distinctive red waistcoats with the name of the group written on them. Some volunteers with medical training are also helping at Kommunarka, Moscow's infectious diseases hospital.

They don hazmat suits to work in the "dirty zone" with those infected, helping medical staff, said Kochesokova. She herself is a medical student, now attending lectures and submitting coursework online due to the pandemic.

She says volunteering is a good experience for future doctors to learn about effective communication, something they often don't learn at medical school. Fellow volunteer David Toniya, a 21-year-old dental student, said he began volunteering after hearing about the group at his university.

"With this situation that is happening in the whole world, we just decided to help," he said.



‘Discounted Deaths’ and COVID 19: Anthropology of Death and Emotions

Death is a social event rather than the mere cessation of biological functions. As seen by anthropologists, death is not just physical but intensely social, cultural, and political....

Indigenous knowledge of communities a must for maximizing impact of community work

Generally, it has been observed that the majority of the academicians in higher education institutions neglect the wisdom of community people and throw their weight around thinking that they know everything and the community knows nothing. ...

In rebuking FBR, Pakistan’s courts take a stand for public health

The system, if implemented effectively, will allow Pakistans revenue service to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products and potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to the states budget each year. ...

Dissecting how COVID-19 is catalyzing the trajectory of New World Order

The ensuing pandemic of COVID-19 has hit the globalization in two ways firstly, shrinking the importance of globalization as an economic force by curtailing mobility through worldwide lockdowns, and secondly, rejuvenating the idea of indig...


Latest News

COVID-19: Act now or risk ‘unimaginable devastation’ globally, warns UN chief

Unless countries across the world act together now, the COVID-19 pandemic will cause unimaginable devastation and suffering around the world, UN Secretary-General Antnio Guterres said on Thursday at a virtual high-level meeting on financing...

Report: Non-playoff teams will be allowed to trade

When the NHL season resumes with a 24-team postseason, the seven teams left out of the playoffs apparently wont be entirely left out of the action. According to a report Thursday by The Athletics Pierre LeBrun, the seven teams that will not...

Search for dark matter: What antimatter study by Large Hadron Collider says

The ALICE collaboration has presented new results on the production rates of antideuterons based on data collected at the highest collision energy delivered so far at the Large Hadron Collider. The antideuteron is composed of an antiproton ...

Baseball-Beer company bashes Astros with new brew

Major League Baseball fans deprived of the opportunity to heckle the Houston Astros for the 2017 sign-stealing scandal have been offered the chance to make their point from home by drinking a beer.In January, the league said that Astros pla...

Give Feedback