By: Janith B. Mirang

The Cooperative Month’s theme: “Cooperatives Amidst the Pandemic, Stand for Resiliency, Strive for Sustainability” inspired the City Cooperative Development Office (CCDO) of Butuan City to conduct a webinar on the topic: “Battling Covid-19 and Transitioning to New Normal” to arm Butuanon coops. The activity held last October 28-29, 2020 was participated by 240 cooperative officers and members coming from thirty (30) cooperatives within Butuan City.

Through the webinar, the participants were given intensive exposure and knowledge about the 2019 corona virus disease (COVID-19) by the resource speaker, Mr. Paul Ritchie G. Pelos, RN, a registered nurse from Butuan Medical Center of Butuan City. Mr. Pelos discussed strategies and approaches in battling Covid-19.

On the first part of the orientation, the resource person presented the synopsis and overview of the Covid-19 outbreak to make the participants understand why the pandemic came to be — the spreading of the virus to countries around the world. The participants were trained to identify solutions and design safety features in their workplaces, to establish adequate staffing level and planning for post-pandemic safety measures.

Mr. Pelos introduced the following strategies—the coop can do to combat covid-19:

  • Building Readiness
  • Disinfection and sanitation of common areas for touch surfaces such as door handles, counters, washrooms, etc.
  • Availability of emergency services, including isolation rooms
  • Cleaning of air handling units (aircons, electric fans), as well as sanitization of machines and tools
  • Provisions for biomedical waste disposal
  • Demarking for social distancing at entry/exit points, walkways, lobbies, stairwells and lifts.
  • Operational Readiness
  • Task Force, with clearly defines roles and responsibilities
  • Clear signage at all access points to direct safe behavior and social distancing
  • Defined protocols for incident management (detection, isolation and communication)
  • Traffic and crowd control plan, entry/exit points, walkways, lobbies, stairwells, lifts
  • Service provider workforce planning and training.
  • Governance and Procedures
  • Entry and exit protocols –pedestrian, vehicular, goods
  • Operational plan for all key areas within the office, specifically around disinfection and maintenance schedules
  • Health check and screening protocols for employees, visitors, and service providers
  • PPE planning – quantity, specification, usage guidelines and disposal.

“Cooperatives can make simple ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their workplace”

Further explained were simple ways to prevent the spread of Covid in the workplace:

  • Make sure that workplaces are clean and hygienic
  • Promote regular and thorough handwashing by employees, customers, contractors
  • Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace –wearing of masks, closed bins for waste disposal

The 240 cooperative officers and members were also taught to develop a plan what to do if someone becomes ill with suspected Covid 19 at the workplace; and to develop a contingency and business continuity plan for an outbreak in the communities where the coop business operates.

The covid pandemic brought these challenges to the coops; introduced to everyone what is the NEW NORMAL. . . . .?

“It is a new way of thinking about, deciding on, and doing our usual affairs with an invigorated sense to remain healthy by – reducing vulnerability by keeping a healthy lifestyle; reducing virus transmission by observing infection control measures; reducing contact with a potential disease carrier; reducing the duration of infection by establishing effective disease management mechanisms; and, ensuring GOVERNANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY by putting in place strong health regulations and policies.”

Now is the time to learn, to prepare, to act! Yes, Butuanon Cooperatives are now ready! ***