Barbados Association of Professional Social Workers (BAPSW)
More now than ever, we are forced to recognize the Promotion of the Importance of Human Relationships the global theme for World Social Day, 2020.
COVID-19 information is extremely relevant to social workers who are on the frontline working in the trenches with many of our vulnerable persons at all our borders of social services, crime, health, retrenched workers, deportees, church, child care, elderly care and disabled care.
We are aware that COVID-19 spreads by droplets across distances between one to two metres the maximum. Across the globe scientists are searching to find a cure and it will take some time, EXHALE… (there is no effective cure for HIV but proper medical care such as anti-retroviral drugs have been able to control it). We are also mindful that the number of countries and continents where COVID-19 has been identified is rising. We are aware COVID-19 started in China, the largest trading nation of the world, and Barbados is yet to identify one case. Barbados is currently in Phase 0 – that is no reported COVID-19 cases on the island. Yet, we are not being complacent as the 24-hour hotline 536-4500 has been launched with instructions to ALL to call the Ministry of Health and Wellness. We should be mindful that Phases 1-5 still follow on and a national shut down may be necessary.
The tools of our trade have also been affected as health protocols are enacted and we will no longer be greeting others or touching. We are expected to engage in 20 seconds of hand-washing singing the happy birthday song or our preference is ‘I will survive’. Let us wash our hands before, during and after our work practice. This simple but powerful action joins us with the rest of the globe to ensure COVID-19 is contained and our home and work environments remain safe.
Social workers are known as change agents whose actions can change and influence what happens with the new coronavirus disease in conjunction with economists, teachers, politicians and health professionals. Given its presentation, COVID-19 will temporarily disrupt the way we enjoy and value human relationships. It will be more challenging to build rapport and trust at our interviewing stages or use the SOLER position in counseling, and our home visits and family interventions must now be strengthening our third eyes.
We recognized that COVID-19 has also caused the shutdowns of sea ports, airports and inland travel for some countries and continents. Thus, our office supplies may soon become unavailable and out of stock. So social workers, you are implored to avoid wastage of soon to be limited resources.
Economic plans that Barbados will put in place appear to be guided by the economic lens of the employed rather than the unemployable. We, the employed, have a bridging role to play, which allows the economic planning to be all embracing of all human relationships. COVID-19 is asking us now to find alternatives and to ‘make do’, a super-power of all professional social workers.
Today BAPSW salutes all social workers on this economic journey with all other professionals in health, education, churches, politics, funeral homes and entertainment to keep Barbados safe from the perils of COVID-19 as we continue to promote the importance of Human Relationships.
Currently, COVID-19 has earned a pandemic status. We believe it will be returned to an epidemic status as long as we continue to promote the importance of human relationships; consequently, the number of infectious cases will fall.
Social Workers be safe, be vigilant and be informed.
Sharon-Rose Gittens (President)
R.N, B.Sc., M.Ed., M.S.W
Juliana Daniel (Secretary)