Social Workers’ “Joint Action of Three-Three for Community-Based Pandemic Prevention and Control” in Hubei
Prof. Qin Qin, Sociology Department of Wuhan University of Technology
As COVID-19 hit Hubei, the CPC Central Committee decisively started the “extraordinary mode” of the Spring Festival, turning the traditional holiday into a critical window period of epidemic prevention and control and “race” with the spread of the virus. Governments of all levels were required to “take initiative and treat special issues specially” and “take more decisive, more powerful and orderly, and more scientific and thorough measures to effectively contain the spread of the epidemic”. On the third day of the first lunar month of Chinese calendar, President Xi Jinping made important instructions for the third time. He stressed that we must firmly rely on the masses and be determined to fight and win the battle against the epidemic and block the spread of the virus.
The key to successfully prevent and control the epidemic is to quickly establish a complete set of community-based system and mechanism. National Health Commission of the PRC issued Notice on Strengthening Community-Based Prevention and Control of COVID-19, in which it clearly states that we should focus on community-based prevention and control, and strengthen society-wide efforts, implement comprehensive measures effectively to prevent input, spread and output of the virus and control the spread of the disease.
In response, social workers in Hubei quickly acted. They set up teams, and built a “joint action of three-three for community-based epidemic prevention and control” system to fight in the battle against the epidemic.
- Main Practice in “Joint Action of Three-Three for Community-Based Pandemic Prevention and Control”
Three groups in the joint action refer to community residents, suspected patients and highly suspected groups, respectively called support group, backup group and key care-target group. The principle is, all workers stick to the standard, fulfill their responsibilities and cooperate closely to sift suspects layer by layer, and safeguard their communities. In various ways, community workers get community residents to access the community information platform (support group) on Internet, controlling the first pass of full coverage of residents. Workers interact with residents online in a professional way, screen out suspected patients and close contacts, admit them into WeChat group of suspected patients (backup group), then further screen out highly suspected patients (key care-target group), and conduct online case screening and guidance one-to-one, later transfer them to the community hospital or designated hospital offline.
Joint action of three forces means, work personnel of the three groups are a professional team composed of social workers, doctors and psychology consultants; they get support and follow management of the head professional team, and each group is connected with the management background. In this way big data of epidemic prevention and control is available, which can also serve the community health system platform in the future.
Joint action of three Ss form the cooperation and mobilization mechanism of epidemic-fighting actions, which means cooperative mobilization of shequ/community (community neighborhood committee, grid, property management organizations and community health service center), social organizations and social resources constitute offline complement of joint action of three groups. “Joint action of three-three for community-based pandemic prevention and control” system is thus constructed, for details please see the figure below:
Strengths of “Joint Action of Three-Three for Community-Based Pandemic Prevention and Control” System
First, joint action of three groups ensures accurate screening, full coverage and no omission. Application of high-tech and big data renders all-round monitoring and guidance in terms of disease condition, information, emotion and public opinion possible. Community workers gain support to execute their duties and safeguard their communities, and are clear about the prevention and control conditions.
Second, joint action of three Ss. Shequ/community consists of various formal forms of organizations, such as community health service center, community neighborhood committee, community grid, property management organizations, etc. They cover the community in a more comprehensive way, from A to Z, from top to toe, and precisely to household and person. In the meantime, various social organizations, including industry associations, social service institutions, foundations and self-organizations, can also be mobilized to cooperate with each other and exhibit their own advantages. Moreover, social organizations mobilize all kinds of social resources in community such as medical resources, information resources, professional resources and rescue resources, and make full use of them, to make up for the lack and inflexible mobilization of formal resources. In a word, joint action of three Ss promotes coordination and management of community epidemic prevention stations, and improves the quality and efficiency of disease prevention and control.
Third, with joint action of three forces, we make full use of the advantages of Wuhan’s excellent social workers and volunteer management talents, and recruit, dispatch and manage professional volunteer forces nationwide. Local professional forces get an opportunity to carry out online collaborative services with the best social workers, psychology professionals and doctors in the country. In this way not only the spirit of social welfare shall be promoted, but also a professional volunteers team can be trained, of first-class professional abilities and ethics with team management, who shall come to join the fight once called. It lays a good talent foundation for dealing with emergencies in the future.
Fourth, mobile Internet and big data technology are made full use of to build a full coverage prevention and control information platform today, which can be transformed into a community health information platform later, so as to upgrade the community information system.
Fifth, it promotes cooperation between the government and social organizations, and establishes a normalized community health and public epidemic prevention system and mechanism which can also respond to public emergencies when in need.
III. Main Experience of Hubei Social Workers
Under the severe epidemic prevention situation in Hubei, Wuhan was locked down on January 23. Many social work institutions in Hubei Province, such as Jingchu Social Work Services of Hubei Province, Wuhan Yifei Social Work Services, Wuhan Aixi Social Work Services, Wuhan Wanbang Social Work Services, Wuhan Chuxin Social Work Services, Wuhan Zepei Social Work Services, Hanyang Xinsheng Social Work Services, Hanyang Qinglu Social Work Services, and Xiangyang Chunyu Social Work Services, acted immediately and established on the Internet “home isolation support groups” composed of volunteers for medical services, psychological consultation and social work, providing remote diagnosis and treatment guidance, psychological support and emotion counseling services etc. for suspected patients and those stay at home for isolation. This action was strongly supported by industry associations such as China Federation of Social Work, Hubei Federation of Social Work, Wuhan Federation of Social Work, etc. With continuous persistence and efforts, we have achieved as follows:
(1) linked social resources nationwide;
(2) integrated professional forces of Hubei for epidemic prevention and control;
(3) explored possible modes of community-based epidemic prevention and control;
(4) promoted the development of online service platform;
(5) activated grassroots governance of “community + property management organizations” for epidemic prevention and control.
More than one month has passed since the outbreak of COVID-19, we can see in the eyes of every citizen of Hubei “fight, gratitude and expectation”, and in the heart of every social worker of Hubei there is “perverseness, toughness and courage”. General Secretary, Mr Xi Jinping stressed in his speech on 23 that, we should give full play to the professional advantages of social work and support social workers and volunteers in providing services. The words of the general secretary give more strength to our “perverseness”, our “toughness” and our “courage”. We will continue to fight the pandemic until it perishes.