MDA's COVID-19 course teaches public how to break chain of infection

“In wars we teach preparedness for earthquakes, and in this war, we teach the public how to break the chain of infection.”

MDA Youth Volunteer and Corona Ambassador handing out masks in Tiveria (photo credit: MDA SPOKESPERSON)
MDA Youth Volunteer and Corona Ambassador handing out masks in Tiveria
(photo credit: MDA SPOKESPERSON)
Israel’s national ambulance service, Magen David Adom (MDA), launched a three-hour course recently to educate the public on coronavirus safety and how to break the chain of infection.
Time and again, experts have concluded that the most effective way of stopping the spread of the virus is by isolating those infected and those who have been exposed as quickly as possible, but unfortunately, according to the comptroller’s report released in October, health authorities tasked with tracking the spread have been slow to act.
This online course, which is called MDA’s Coronavirus Ambassadors program, provides a general introduction to the coronavirus and teaches how to break the chain of infection, as well as basic hygiene and how to cope with the effects of social restrictions. The course is presented by Magen David Adom in coordination with the local council, Education Ministry, the Workers Union, Army Radio and other agencies. It is being offered for free for a limited time.
Participants aged 18 and over (or below 18 for those from youth organizations and MDA volunteers), are taught to keep a “coronavirus diary,” entering the names of those they have been in close proximity with for more than 15 minutes at a time. If one of these participants contracts the virus, they can refer to their diary to see who they may have exposed and this makes it easy for them to contact those people and instruct them to notify the Health Ministry and enter quarantine. The organization is currently working on a mobile app that can serve as a digital epidemiological diary.
According to Dr. Eli Jaffe, MDA’s deputy director-general, the course empowers participants by providing information that will promote their understanding of COVID-19. More importantly, the participants are encouraged to share what they learned with their families, friends and co-workers.
“In wars we teach preparedness for earthquakes, and in this war, we teach the public how to break the chain of infection,” said Jaffe.
Danette Aberas, a 48-year-old resident of Kadima and an MDA volunteer, took the course last month and has since been recruited as a special program coordinator in the Sharon region. According to Aberas, the material that she received in the course to share on her social media, in her community and its schools, as well as with her family and friends, “will give a boost of learning” and emphasize “the importance of understanding the danger of being sick with coronavirus and [the risk of] contaminating other people.”
Though the course is currently offered in Hebrew and Arabic, MDA hopes to expand it to additional languages, for use both inside and outside of Israel to address the second wave that many countries are currently experiencing. The course has been taught to 2,000 participants to date, including MDA employees, but according to Jaffe, “hundreds of thousands” may have benefited from what the course graduates have learned.
“MDA’s innovative courses and volunteer structure have greatly benefited the Israeli population during the coronavirus outbreak,” said Jaffe. “As Europe and the United States struggle with a second wave of the coronavirus, they can learn from the strength of MDA’s volunteer structure as well its innovative programs to aid those who are quarantined or need medical attention during this time.”
Another program that has been helpful during the pandemic s is “MDA in the Community.” This program was in the planning stages for several years but its use accelerated in the wake of the coronavirus. It uses telemedicine to help medics and paramedics treat patients at home through connecting with a doctor using the “MDA Teams” application on a tablet. The doctor, from anywhere with an Internet connection, is able to listen to the patient’s lungs, check his or her heart or look into his or her throat – all from afar. The results of in-home blood tests can actually be returned quickly enough for the doctor to examine and decide treatment on the spot. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics or medications, which in certain cases can be given out by the paramedic.
To sign up for the course, visit MDA’s website.