HCM CITY — Amid the outbreak of coronavirus infections in HCM City, hundreds of people including recovered COVID-19 patients, have volunteered to put themselves on the frontline in the fight against the pandemic.
“Always available and willing to help at any time, whenever people need” is the new slogan for Trần Trường Giang, Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng and Trương Trung Thành, three recovered patients who have joined the city’s voluntary force.
Trần Trường Giang, 29, and his family all tested positive for COVID-19.
“I remembered that my parents and my grandmother tested positive first. The next day, when I did the test, I also had COVID,” he told Việt Nam News.
“At that time, I was very worried because all my family got the disease. But I had to force myself to calm down and look for hospitals providing treatment for my family.
“My grandmother and I then went to the field hospital number 12 in District 2, my parents went to Nguyễn Tri Phương hospital in District 5. We were all sent to the emergency room.”
During treatment, he witnessed the amazing dedication of both medical staff and volunteers. This inspired him to play his part.
He immediately registered to join the voluntary forces after finishing his self-quarantine period.
Giang added: “During the time I took care of my grandmother in the hospital, I also understood how hard-working the volunteers are.
“Many of them are from the North coming here to support the South and doctors here. Sometimes, I saw they slept in the corridor, which was very hard and tiring.
“At that time, I thought that I am a recovered patient and I felt that I owe the hospital my life, so I wanted to come back to help other patients.
“I registered and was sent to volunteer in the field hospital number 1 in Bình Chánh District. I was assigned to work in the emergency room.”
|After finishing his self-quarantine period, Giang immediately registered to join the voluntary forces and work in the field hospital number 1 in Bình Chánh District. Photo courtesy of Trần Trường Giang
Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng also joined the voluntary forces to help the city during the outbreak. Hoàng has been a proactive volunteer for many years in schemes such as green summer projects.
So when the fourth wave of coronavirus infections hit HCM City, he instantly continued his voluntary work after his factory closed due to social distancing.
He worked in many vaccination points and also donated his company’s products such as paper cups to hospitals to serve the frontline workers.
But not long after he started, he received some bad news.
“After one week doing volunteer, I tested positive with COVID-19,” Hoàng said.
“Nine out of 11 people in my family tested positive, only two children in my family were not infected. I was really anxious and worried about my parents because my dad has a number of health issues.
“My parents were sent to a field hospital, other members treated at home. So I think that my family had wonderful luck as nine of us beat the disease together.”
Hoàng was supported by his wife and two sisters who also decided to volunteer.
“When I decided to volunteer and asked other family members to join me, I was very happy because I received their support,” Hoàng said.
“I think that I have gone through all the difficult things such as overcoming the disease or finishing the treatment and now I am healthy. So there is no reason to be afraid of going out or just stay at home and wait until the city recovers.
“I have to join the city and I have to do more. So whenever people need help, I can offer support at any time.”
|Hoàng believes he had to volunteer to help the city after beating COVID himself. Photo courtesy of Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng
Trương Trung Thành, 25, is also a child of HCM City. Similar to Hoàng, Thành knew that he risked getting COVID after participating in many voluntary jobs. But even testing positive didn't stop him wanting to help.
“No matter if I had COVID-19 or not, the volunteer spirit in helping people is always in me,” Thành said.
“Even when I was receiving treatment, I still coordinated with donors to supply milk, water and fruit for people staying in my quarantine area.
“I didn't know that there was a shortage of those items in the quarantine area until I stayed there.”
Together to fight the pandemic
Working in an emergency room has a high risk of infection. But for Giang, it is easier for him to share and motivate patients as he had had experience of receiving treatment there.
“My day starts from 6am and finishes at around 8pm. My main tasks include preparing meals, cleaning and disinfecting patient areas,” Giang said.
“During my shift, I also try to encourage patients. I think that patients really need someone by their sides to encourage them to overcome this disease. It is mental therapy which is also very important as well as the medical treatment from the doctors.
“When I see that the patients getting better day by day and joking with each other, that's the happiest moment that I have had here so far.”
For Hoàng and Thành, volunteer jobs are not something new. But this time, it might be unforgettable and different from what they had done before.
Hoàng said: “My team supports vaccination points. The main jobs are similar to what I did before, which are calling people, arranging people to take blood pressure, measure temperatures and guiding them to queue up for injections.
“But now as a recovered COVID patients, I can understand what patients have to go through to fight against the disease. So I always try to advise people on getting vaccinated as soon as possible no matter what type the vaccine is. Because that is the best way to protect themselves and their family from this deadly virus.”
Thành added: “During the pandemic, many people in HCM City lacked food or vegetables. I and my team always try to support and provide food for people in this difficult time.”
Thành rallied people to donate more than 300 tonnes of vegetables, tonnes of apples and carrots for people in need in HCM City.
“I don't mind how hard the work is. As long as people stay fine during this tough time, then I'll be happy. Although I am only one individual contributing very little to volunteer work, I will try my best to support as many people as possible,” Thành added.
|Thành and his team provide 200 boxes of apples for a quarantine area in Bình Chiểu District. Photo courtesy of Trương Trung Thành
Despite the hardships, they are still determined to continue their voluntary work. They hope their city will fully recover soon.
“I think that at this time, if anyone needs help, I am always willing to support. For me, my biggest wish is that HCM City will return to the 'new normal' soon, it might be slow but steady. I always support the policies carried out by the city's leaders,” Hoàng said. — VNS