New Covid policies impose new requirements on community work

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On Jan.6, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, National Health Commission and Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention jointly issued an updated notice on the prevention and control of Covid-19, which is now classified and regulated as a Category B infectious disease, in urban and rural communities.

Treating Covid as a Category B disease means that it is now on the same list as HIV and bird flu and takes the power of imposing restrictions such as lockdowns from local authorities.

A piece from China Social Work gave a few suggestions on how local Civil Affairs Bureaus and communities can provide health services to residents in a timely manner.

With the number of social workers increasing over the years, the work assigned by the community to social workers should be based on their role as professionals to provide more effective support to local residents. Communities need to pay more attention to elderly care, child protection and other key groups’ needs.

In addition, communities should shift their strategy from general management to more targeted and specific services. For example, community should assign social workers and volunteers more home visits to understand the health status and individual needs of the residents and keep a record of potential risks.

The recruitment process of community workers also needs to be updated. Previously, communities tended to hire workers based on short-term projects. The author proposes to develop and set up full-time social worker positions at the community level with fundings from government procurement services.