TON local initiatives after the COVID-19 lockdown

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Jozef Goebels, President of ADR-Vlaanderen (ADR) - and The Open Network for Community Development Foundation (TON) -

June 2020



Since several months now we are confronted with the first worldwide COVID-19 Pandemic situation and lockdown. It was confrontational for everyone, but we learned a lot and for sure, our society will look different in the future. We are now June 2020 and various ordonnances and measures are taken to tapering down the lockdown. On the other hand, new measures are taken in order to keep the pandemic under control or to, hopefully, stop it. This means we must be able to count on the solidarity and cooperation of everyone, not only to protect themselves, but for sure also others. All new preventing measures should be adapted and implemented by everyone. This also as respect for all healthcare professionals and volunteers that did, and still do, an exceptional job to cure people and save lives. Some people don’t believe there is a problem and even negate there is a COVID-19 virus. They pretend all kind of protection measures are exaggerated, and that masks kill people, as we can hear and read on Facebook and other social media. This spreading and liking of fake news is a real danger for our society and shows great irresponsibility. On behalf of our ADR/TON network we can testify the situation is serious, and we must be able to count on responsible people. As a few examples in our network we had:  The death of Joseph Wijnen, one of the founding fathers of the ADAM Moldovița socialmedical center, due to COVID-19 contamination. Showing the COVID pandemic reaches primarily elderly people and for also those staying in an elderly home.  The self-isolation for 14 days of Ioan Suru, our manager of ADAM Slatina-Timiș socialmedical center, and his family, due to Ioan’s contact with a COVID-19 contaminated patient. We can, of course, give a long list, but we hope to show the situation is serious and needs serious and effective measures followed up by everyone in order to protect yourselves, your family and your community. For the moment the most important measures are:  wear a mask where needed (wearing a mask is a sign of altruism. It protects others from a potential disease that you may have);  keep social distance as prescribed;  keep close hygiene and washing hands regularly is very important;  be aware of persons around and help them comply with the above rules, enable/coach them to wear a mask, to keep personal hygiene and social distance.




As stated, it will be important now to follow up on the measures taken to prevent a new pandemic or lockdown in Romania. It would be good that we, from the TON network, take the lead in this and set up locally a collaboration between important partners in order to continue to fight against COVID-19, but also to be prepared for a new upcoming virus infection and maybe later work on an appropriate health policy locally. Resulting hopefully in the installation of a “Local Health Consortium”. We will define possible tasks that are important in these post-COVID-19 time. 1. Keep social distance as prescribed by the authorities: a. For the moment the best is still 1,5 m. b. Stay in the prescribed bubble (as well for family and friends). c. Please check daily evolutions in post COVID-19 lockdown measures. 2. Keep close hygiene and wash your hands as prescribed: a. Please wash your hands regularly with water and soap. b. If needed and always good, use a prepared handwash gel solution consisting of alcohol and gel. Commercially available or you can make it yourself. c. Good to have a small bottle of handwash gel in your handbag or car.

3. Wear a mask where needed and as prescribed by the authorities: a. Masks will be standard equipment in the future everywhere. b. There are different masks available: i. Caregivers in direct contact with suspected patients can use surgical masks or an FFP2 mask. ii. Where needed, use at least a surgical mask. Take into account that these are disposable. It is important to change masks after use and it is important to dispose of it properly in safe waste containers. c. The WHO decided beginning of June that wearing masks in public places should be a worldwide measurement of governments. THE LATEST INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND ON THE WEBSITE OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) You can find information in different languages: On this website you can find all kinds of videos as there are:  How to wear a fabric mask  How to wear a medical mask Also cartoons:  How to wear a non-medical fabric mask safely (see addendum 1)  How to wear a medical mask safely (see addendum 2)



‘Actie Dorpen Roemenie-Vlaanderen’ (ADR-Vlaanderen) in Belgium and their sister organization ‘The Open Network for Community Development’ Foundation (TON) in Romania, stand for a long -lasting collaboration of 30 years now and have proven to be a motor of different interesting pilot projects and “Best Practices”. This fruitful Belgian-Romanian collaboration of ADR/TON, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Bucharest, will, as a pilot project, distribute 1.000 reusable nonmedical masks among TON member organizations and setting up a local information campaign of COVID-19 protection measures. We will start it for sure in those places where we have social-medical activities as ADAM and homecare initiatives. But of course, in all places where TON member-organizations would promote and advice to set up such initiative. In the beginning, we will focus on caregivers and teachers, as well as on the local civil society organizations organizing the campaign. It is important to motivate teachers, school directions, and parents’ organizations to start such initiatives to inform pupils and students about the COVID-19 measures and how to apply them correctly. They can then be a model for their families and others in the community.

Positive health and healthy communes can only be reached when working together. Health is the responsibility of each of us. So, let’s TON be the motor for it in Romania. METHOD:  As a TON member-organization, look for allies to create a kind of local consortium with civil society organizations, schools, caregivers and the local council. Try to convince policymakers; DSP (Directia de Sanatate Publica); CJAS (Casa Judeţeana de Asigurari de Sanatate); etc. to join or support this initiative. This can be a first start to a “Local Health Consortium”.  Make a local plan to recommend every inhabitant to apply the foreseen measures by the authorities and to foresee masks. Repetition is a good learning experience.  Set up information moments for the public to explain once again the current measures and how to use and handle masks correctly.  As a start ADR/TON will provide a starter packet of ADR/TON reusable masks, sponsored by the Belgian embassy, as an introduction of the local campaign. Within the “Local Health Consortium”, you can advise authorities to buy and distribute reusable masks for their inhabitants. This can be done on a regional basis together with the counties.  The real distribution of masks to target groups and the whole population should be accompanied by necessary information. In the information section of this document you can find needed instructions and models on how to use and handle masks correctly as well as on other protection measures to be taken:  An information letter from the mayor and/or local health consortium.  Information for leaflets or PPT-presentations.  Models for leaflets and posters.  Interesting links and addresses.



In Belgium f.e. different governments (local, regional and national) work together to foresee a non-medical mask for each inhabitant older than 12 years.  In the information section, you can find a model of a letter distributed together with the masks by the city of Geel. Volunteers distributed the masks to each individual at home. The federal Belgian government is now distributing as well as non-medical reusable masks for each inhabitant through the pharmacies that can explain as well how to wear and handle.  Also in Romania local, regional and national governments have taken already initiatives towards their citizens, so please check what has been set up or in the pipeline and try to incorporate this in your local action of the “Local Health Consortium”. Information about the ADR/TON non-medical masks: delivered by SAMDAM Venus cotton masks with 2 ear bands:  3-layer, double sided, 2 colors with a SPUNBOND-filter between the 2 cotton layers.  Dimensions: 17 x 13.5cm.  Materials: OEKO-TEX cotton and OEKO-TEX SPUNBOND non-woven filter.  Can be washed at 60°C.  Individually packed.


Contact for more information and reporting:

ADAM Slatina-Timis Work: +40255.260.807 Mobile: +40722.369.810 Slatina-Timis 198A, Slatina-Timis, 327360, Caras Severin, Romania



INFORMATION ON HAND GEL: Disinfecting Hand Gel: you can buy it everywhere and if not available, you can make it easily yourself. A very simple and cheap method is the following:  2 parts f.e. (2 x 50 ml = 100 ml) 96% alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol or Methanol)  1 part f.e. (50 ml) hand gel (can be as well shower gel) (Aloe Vera is best)  8-10 drops essential oil f.e. lavender, citron, cinnamon, peppermint, … to get a good smell.  Mix well and it is ready for use. A method by the WHO: Important to have small amounts with you to use during visits and wash your hands before and afterwards. Also when putting on and taking off the mask. A few drops are OK to wash.

INFORMATION ON MASKS: What is the difference between a surgical mask and FFP1, FFP2 mouthnasal masks? FFP stands for Filtering Facepiece Particle, this means a face mask that filters particles. The added number (FFP 1, 2 or 3) expresses how strongly the inhaled air is filtered. The higher the number, the more protection. Healthcare mainly uses FFP1 and FFP2 masks. Surgical mouth-nose mask: A surgical mouth-nose mask has the purpose of filtering the exhaled air and protecting the wearer's environment from drops that arise when speaking, coughing and sneezing. It is not suitable as a respiratory protection mask like the FFP1 and FFP2 mouth-nose masks. FFP1 mouth-nose mask Wear an FFP1 mask when large saliva drops are released during talking, coughing and the like. Think of respiratory infections or influenza. Because these drops are relatively large and heavy, they don't float through the air so far and are spread over a shorter distance. FFP2 mouth-nose mask Wear an FFP2 mask, among other things, when treating patients with (suspected) Tuberculosis or Corona. The small saliva drops in cases of Tuberculosis and Corona can infect someone at a greater distance.



POINTS OF ATTENTION WHEN USING MASKS: Naturally, mouth-nasal masks only have the desired effect if used correctly:  The mask must fit well.  You must apply the mask before entering the room/space where the infection is possible.  After wearing 2 hours, you must replace the mask by a new one. You should replace the mask sooner if breathing becomes heavy or if the mask gets humid.  You should not wear a mask around the neck and then use it again, interior and exterior parts can become contaminated when reassembled.  Apply hand hygiene immediately before putting and after removing the mask.


FFP masks protect the wearer against the inhalation of contaminated harmful particles that are spread through the air.

Surgical masks protect the patient and surrounding against contamination through f.e. saliva drops.


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Here as well you can go for simple protections masks or masks with an extra filter. The ideal material to make them is cotton or polyester cotton. These masks can be worn 2 hours and then must be washed at 60 or 90°C, depending on the materials (eventually 1% bleach). After washing, put them in a clean plastic bag. These masks are approved to use to see sick people, patients, care givers, educators… You can reuse them after appropriate washing each time. ADR/TON work together with Belgian/Romanian companies that produce or sell non-medical masks (BIORACER/RACETEX and SAMDAM). On different official websites, you can find information on how to make properly reusable mouth masks. F.e.:



MODEL OF LETTER FROM THE LOCAL INITIATIVE GROUP (BEST LOCAL COUNCIL / MAYOR): [This is a letter used to distribute non-medical masks to all inhabitants of Geel (Belgium) older than 12 years] To all residents / To all recipients of masks Distribution of masks Dear inhabitant of Geel, All residents of Geel from 12 years old on receive a mask offered by the city. The mouth masks were purchased by the city of Geel through a group purchase from IOK (Intercommunal Organization of the region). The 2 filters, to put extra in the mask in the same package, are purchased by the federal government. A clear manual helps you to use and maintain the masks in the right way. Do you have children from 6 to 11 year old and do you also want a mask for them?  For children going to school, mouth masks are available in the schools and at student transport.  For young children, wearing a mask is not helpful since it is important to use it correctly. Do you anyway want one for your children from 6 to 11 years old? Please fill in the application form on mouthmask345. Important:  Wearing a mask is only recommended for people who wear it correctly. A mask is therefore not useful for smaller children.  The mouth masks cannot be exchanged.  Have friends or family not yet received a package? Don't worry, the packages will not be  distributed all at once.  You will find a manual with instructions for use and maintenance in your package. Inhabitants of Geel are a warm community. Now is the time to demonstrate that. Follow the guidelines and take care of each other. Then soon we can enjoy life together again in our beautiful city. With best regards,

Vera Celis. Mayor of Geel.


A local address: website / Facebook / Phone / … on Corona info: 0800.800.358 Ministerul Sanatatii - Institutul de Sanatate Publica - Ministerul Afacerilor Interne - Departamentul pentru Situatii de Urgenta - Need a listening ear? - 0374.456.420



EVERYTHING YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT WEARING AND HANDLING MASKS It’s easy to make a reusable mask or even an apron yourself. On the following link, you can find as well how to make it yourself as well as how to use it correctly:

WHEN? Wear a mask in order not to distribute potentially contaminated saliva droplets, and to protect others. As a consequence, your environment will also be less contaminated.

According to the arrangements at work.

In close contact with others.

At public transport.

To visit a shop / market.

When visiting vulnerable persons or if you are a risk patient yourself.

WASH & CONSERVE? Sterilize your reusable mask anyway every day after use.

Wash it 30 minutes at 60°C or cook it briefly In a cooking pot that you use exclusively for this purpose.

Did you wash it at less than 60°C? Then iron the mask at a high temperature. Put it clean and dry in a Ziplock bag.

MAINTENANCE OF FILTERS? In case you have a mask with a replaceable filter:

Wash before first use.

Only in the high temperature dryer.

Wash 30 minutes at 60°C.


Don’t iron.


HINTS    

 

Put the mask on and off as little as possible. Preferably put it on when you leave home. Touch the mask as little as possible while wearing it. If you must take off the mask for a short time (for example to drink), put it on a clean place that you can easily clean afterwards or put it in an air-permeable bag. A mask is of little use to people who cannot wear it correctly:  for smaller children  persons with disabilities who cannot wear the mask according to the specified guidelines without the help of a third party. Don’t keep it in the refrigerator or freezer: this does not kill the virus but can contaminate other foods. Keep social distance of 1,5 m, don’t touch your face and regularly wash your hands with water & soap, which is one of the most effective measures to be taken.






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