Covid-19 requires a collaborative response because it is a global pandemic. In the absence of definite medical treatments so far, governments have been laying all their stress on raising awareness and implementing preventive measures.
The population of Qatar comprises of different expatriate communities, mainly people coming from South Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The efforts of the Government of Qatar to curb the spread of the virus are frequently getting support from different community organisations to yield better results.
Bangladeshis comprise the second largest expatriate community in Qatar. Different community groups have continuously been working with the government to raise awareness and to have the official measures implemented in the country. Anwar Hossain Akon is the pesident of Bangladesh Community Qatar (BCQ). By profession an engineer, Anwar has been highly active in supporting both his compatriots and the Government of Qatar in the fight against coronavirus.
In a recent interaction with Community, the BCQ president spoke about the different activities his organisation has been carrying out to safeguard his compatriots from Covid-19.
The first step the community organisation took was to setup a regular contact with relevant departments of the government. “Right from the beginning of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, we have been in close contact with all the departments of Qatar engaged to prevent the spread of this disease. If any suggestions, advice and restrictions are announced, we start circulating the news among our community through WhatsApp groups; Facebook; and through e-mail and by our media reports. Flyers and brochures are posted at various social media accounts. Videos suggesting what to do and what not to do are also prepared and posted immediately.
“Along with other expatriate communities, we have been attending the co-ordination and awareness, meeting with Ministry of Labour; Community Police and GCO (Government Communication Office.”
The community organisation has also been keeping itself abreast of the new developments when it comes to precautions and preventions related to the pandemic. “We did a radio programme on awareness with our embassy officials and circulated it among Bangladeshi community. We have received training through Red Crescent along with other communities to know Covid and its preventions. One hour live programme on line, we do to raise awareness about the disease and its prevention.”
They have also neither been inattentive nor inactive when it comes to extending helping hand to the workers in the Industrial Areas when it was under quarantine. “We are coordinating with Qatar Government to co-operate with the people of quarantine in Industrial Area from 17 March. To keep the workers well-informed about what is happening; we are doing all kinds of vernacular translations for flyers on awareness. We send this work to the relevant authorities as we have been asked for doing the translation task.
“We are in contact with the Embassy of Bangladesh on daily basis and all kinds of suggestions from them are duel circulated among our community group. Some businessmen from our community are helping needy persons by supplying food packages according to their capacities and regulations laid down by the Qatar Government.”
The community group has very actively been distributing food packets among needy compatriots. BCQ is also in contact with different departments of Qatar Government and charitable organisations to distribute food kits among those who need such kind of support.
“Before Eid we received food kits from Qatar Charity through Ministry of Interior and Ministry Of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs and we distributed among community’s needy persons and still we are working on to complete the distribution. During Ramadan, we distributed food baskets from QRCS and some private companies and businesses. Our embassy has also been distributing food on regular basis.”
Anwar has a resolve to keep supporting Qatar and his community till the pandemic vanishes from the country. “We at BCQ within our capacity are and will remain involved in the fight against Covid-19 in co-operation with our embassy and Qatar Government.”
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