Nguyễn Tiến Ca (first left) is always proud of the will of 'Uncle Hồ's army' that still resonates in both wartime and peacetime. — VNA/VNS Photo Quốc Dũng
ĐÀ NẴNG — During the peak days fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Đà Nẵng, besides ‘frontline soldiers’ like doctors, police and army forces, there are many outstanding examples of pandemic prevention and control bringing up the ‘rear’.
These normal citizens steep up when the pandemic hit, helping protect themselves, their families and their community from the coronavirus.
Veterans enter a new war
“Hello, all four people in the house please hurry up and take your temperature. Please wake up the kids, remember to put on a face mask."
People in the alley of residential group 22 in Hòa Phát Ward, Cẩm Lệ District, are accustomed to the familiar husky voice every morning of an elderly man, dressed in a soldier's uniform with a small portable loudspeaker.
He calls door to door and medical staff in protective suits follow him to measure people’s temperature and record their health status.
The man is Nguyễn Tiến Ca, 64, head of Veterans Association No 6 and head of residential group 22.
From August 16, when a case of COVID-19 was discovered in the community, alleys 882 and 896 on Trường Chinh Streets were locked down.
Responding to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc's call to fight the pandemic, Ca and other veterans in Đà Nẵng who gave their youth, sweat and blood to the country face a new war. This war features no bombs, smoke and fire, but an invisible but very dangerous enemy: the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
In the 1980s, Ca served in the army in Cambodia for more than three years. Memories of transporting rice in the forest, car trips over bombs and the injuries of a Khmer Rouge ambush are still bold in his mind.
More than 40 years later, in the battle against the pandemic, he no longer has a gun, but a thermometer, a steriliser and a portable speaker. He said that on August 16, when ward authorities informed that his neighbourhood had a case of COVID-19, the first thing he did was immediately notify and reassure people in the blocked alley.
“Facing the current pandemic situation, the task of ensuring food, medicine, and people's thoughts is the most important. Right from the time the case had not been infected, residential group officials regularly encouraged people not to be too confused, worried, and mentally prepared for bad situations,” said Ca.
“When the blockade started, all the necessities, household appliances and foodstuffs of 22 households with 89 people in this area were bought and supplied by us. When people need to ask information, have questions answered or guidance, residents of the neighbourhood and key staff are always enthusiastic to advise,” he said.
Thanks to that, although being locked down, people in the alley still feel secure.
Volunteer Phạm Thị Phương Thanh, a student of the Faculty of Medicine at the Đà Nẵng University is in the same team with Ca.
“I have medical knowledge and am well trained on pandemic prevention and control, but when working in the community, I still need co-ordination from local veterans and women's union. When they are with me, people will trust, comfortably and obey. Work can be deployed more quickly and effectively," he said.
Lê Trọng Lành, chairman of Hòa Phát Ward Veterans Association in Cẩm Lệ District, said that currently, 15 veterans' associations in the ward are participating in giving instructions in residential areas.
“It is a difficult time now, thus the job is very meaningful. Veterans always keep the highest sense of responsibility. Despite our old age, we are always ready to take the lead in taking care of the health of life and spirit of our people, ready to support the next generation,” Lành said.
Doctor's scrubs sent to front line
The steady, throbbing sound of four sewing machines is heard in a small attic and amid the repetitive rhythmic processes of production, doctor's scrubs come into shape.
The working atmosphere at the Women's Union No 15, Hòa Thọ Đông Ward in Cẩm Lệ District is busy, where women sew clothes for doctors at the front line to fight the pandemic.
In the quiet time of social distancing, the small house at the end of the alley belonging to resident group 53 in Hòa Thọ Đông Ward is bustling with sewing machines.
That is the home of Nguyễn Thị Thu Nga, head of the Women's Union No 15, where women in the union gather to do volunteer work for the community.
After presenting their ideas and getting consent from the Hòa Thọ Đông Ward Women's Union, Nga and four other members launched a programme to sew scrubs to give to frontline doctors.
Each of the clothes is cherished and careful with the women, sending their love and appreciation in every needle line and thread. — VNA/VNS Photo Quốc Dũng
“After seeing pictures of doctors drenched in clothes, their hands wrinkled with sweat due to continuous protective clothing, I feel very sorry.
"My family works in the fashion sector, has many sewing machines and necessary tools, I got the idea of sewing a lot of blouses for the doctors.
"I hope that when there are clothes to change more often, the doctors will not get sweaty, ensuring better health.
"I am glad that the idea is supported enthusiastically by the women's union and its members," Nga said.
Four other members of the Women's Union No 15 gathered at Nga's house to start working. The goal is to complete 50 sets of scrubs in seven days to present to doctors.
The living room of Nga's house is used to cut fabric, iron clothes, and the attic is for sewing and spinning.
Nga's daughter, who studies and does business in fashion design, supports her mother with shaping and styling. The goal was to match the hospital model and be comfortable, easy to wear, and quick to change. The most important thing is the fabric, to give doctors a cool, soft fabric.
They are very careful when making male and female models separately and have three sizes. Each pair of scrubs is cherished by the women, sending their love and appreciation in every needle line and thread.
To have durable clothes for the doctors, the women worked hard from 7am to 6pm daily.
Nguyễn Thị Tố Trang, chairwoman of the Hòa Thọ Đông Ward Women’s Union, said sewing scrubs for doctors was a new idea that is being piloted in group 14 and 15, where the members are tailors.
“It is expected that by the beginning of next week, when completing 50 sets, we will work with the Cẩm Lệ District Women's Union to present to the hospitals in need. We are calling for more funding to buy raw materials to expand," she said.
“I am not afraid of difficulties and hard work. If someone supports us with materials, other women and I in the team can sew up to 2,000 blouse sets per month to donate to the doctors and nurses.
"I hope to contribute to energising the frontline anti-pandemic forces. I believe that the difficult days will soon pass, returning peace to Đà Nẵng," Nga said. — VNS