The COVID-19 Help Desk

Topics: Manitoba, Emergencies and Disasters in Canada, Indigenous Communities
Michelle Palansky | July 20, 2020

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The Help Desk is a Canadian Red Cross initiative to provide information and referrals to Indigenous leadership across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The tele-support is available seven days a week and covers pandemic planning, health guidance, and community wellness and protection.
 
The program officially launched on May 27.
 
Red Cross staff from Manitoba are well represented on this national program. Over the past couple of years, the provincial team has been working in partnership with many Indigenous communities and organizations to increase community wellness and emergency preparedness. They are uniquely qualified to provide support for the Help Desk.
 
Since the launch, team members have:
  • Run virtual site tours with communities to improve planning and preparedness during responses.
  • Provided information on sourcing additional personal protective equipment.
  • Supplied funding referrals.
  • Contributed resources for wellness initiatives directed specifically to the men in the community.
 
The response to the Help Desk from Indigenous communities has been positive, reinforcing the need for this national service.
 
“Thank you so much for these resources and for helping connect us with an expert who can assist with questions and meeting standards,” said a community member who used the service.  “It is wonderful to have a service like the one you are providing so we can keep up with the latest recommendations and ensure we are keeping our community safe.”