Maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society is preparing to distribute Covid medical packs to thousands of seafaring families in the Philippines, thanks to a grant of £155,500 from the Seafarers’ International Relief Fund (SIRF) and additional support from The Seafarers’ Charity.
More than 20,000 seafarers and family members in the areas of Manila, Cebu and Iloilo will benefit from the roll-out of 4,800 Covid Care Kits. To date, just 25 per cent of the Philippines’ target population has been fully vaccinated against the deadly virus. There are also fears that the Delta variant could cause further devastation if left to spread unchecked.
Sara Baade, Sailors’ Society’s CEO said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been very difficult for Filipino seafarers and their families, with long and harsh lockdowns leading to job losses and financial hardship. Much of the country is facing a new wave of infections due to the Delta variant and there’s a real need from the seafaring community for basic medical equipment, medicine and guidance.
“We know from experience that preventive support is crucial to ensuring that the already stretched health systems are not totally overwhelmed. Our Covid Care Kits will help prepare the population to face this potential next surge and enable self-care in non-critical cases. We’re extremely grateful to our funders SIRF and The Seafarers’ Charity, and to our partner organisations for supporting this important preventative work.”
Each care pack contains enough basic medicine and vitamins for a family of five, a digital thermometer, a pulse oximeter for monitoring oxygen levels, face masks, hand sanitiser and an information leaflet.
The initiative is based on a similar covid care project which Sailors’ Society successfully implemented in 12 Indian port cities recently. Also funded by SIRF, with additional support from The Seafarers’ Charity, the India project saw Covid Care Kits successfully distributed to more than 26,000 seafarers and their family members.
Catherine Spencer, The Seafarers’ Charity’s CEO said: “As the grant managers of the Seafarers’ International Relief Fund, which was originally focused on India, we were delighted to award a grant to Sailors’ Society to expand this vital work in the Philippines. This is in keeping with the intention of the Seafarers’ International Relief Fund – to provide an agile response to the unexpected wherever needed.”
Sailors’ Society has a long history of working in the Philippines and is well placed to roll-out the kits alongside its partners, the Joint Manning Group (JMG), the Homer Foundation Inc., MagCoop’s HealthHub and MagCoop’s Carepoint.