New years addressing of the secretary general of Red cross of The Republic of North Macedonia
I would like to address you in a few sentences to express our gratitude for the achievements that marked the passing year, and at the same time to call upon you for even greater support, greater ambitions, and preparedness to respond in a timely manner to humanitarian challenges of the population in the year to come.
First of all, I would like to express my special gratitude to the volunteers and members of the Red Cross. We are happy that this year over 2,500 active volunteers and 20,000 members recognized the Red Cross as a place that can give them additional meaning in their lives, a place where they can realize their desires and knowledge, an organization in which they can upgrade their competencies, and an opportunity to find their hidden values that make us better people.
We continue to build our volunteer system to be ready at any time to cope with various types of health and social challenges and disasters, because in such situations volunteers are our greatest potential for implementation of our activities and providing complementary support to state institutions.
Unfortunately, this year was full of humanitarian challenges, but we are proud of the way we managed to respond.
The coronavirus pandemic is still going on and with the start of mass vaccination against COVID-19, the Red Cross of the Republic of North Macedonia provides direct support to the Ministry of Health and the population with administrative-logistical support at the vaccination points, post-vaccine surveillance, first aid, psychological first aid, vaccination of migrants as well as transport of vulnerable people to the vaccination points.
The migration crisis is also not over. In 2021 alone, the Red Cross assisted nearly 20,000 people in transit, of whom 4,560 were sheltered in transit centers and provided with medical support, medical transportation, humanitarian assistance, restoring family links, and psychosocial support. Additional humanitarian assistance was provided to those evacuated from Afghanistan prior to their departure to third countries.
Climate change, with its consequences, has created an additional need for intervention where the Red Cross as part of the crisis management system in the country took an active part, especially in coping with fires in the summer period where logistical support and first aid were provided to firefighters, as well as the provision of humanitarian aid from the own stock reserves for the affected population.
It is not possible not to mention the initiatives to mobilize support for the families of those tragically killed in the fire at the modular hospital in Tetovo, which treated patients sick from COVID-19, as well as the families of those killed in a serious traffic accident in Bulgaria.
We have worked and continue to work on the constant promotion and advancement of opportunities for the population to help those in need, but at the same time we promoted opportunities for personal upgrading of competencies and reducing vulnerability to various challenges.
The Red Cross of RNM in cooperation and with the support of partners this year opened a new Educational Training Center for adult training in Skopje. As a verified implementer of special programs for adults, the Red Cross of RNM continuously contributes to building the system of adult education in the country, provides high quality learning and opportunities to obtain qualifications in accordance with the needs of the population. It is important to note that in the past five years, a total of 750 unemployed people have been trained who have obtained the appropriate certificate, through 16 educational training centers of the Red Cross.
For the fourth year in a row, social services for personal assistance to persons with disabilities are continuously delivered, which this year enabled covering a total of 198 people. From this year, a service for home care and assistance to the elderly is delivered, with the exception of the Red Cross of the city of Skopje, which started this activity in 2018. The intention of the Red Cross of the RNM is to further expand and develop the social services in the coming period.
Realizing the need to develop high quality care and support services for the elderly in their homes, in 2021, in cooperation with our strategic partners the Austrian Red Cross and the Austrian Development Agency, we started the preparations for the establishment of the social-innovative service Emergency Button which would enable our older beneficiaries in an easy and effective way to have a safe life in their homes 24/7, whenever there is an urgent need, help and support.
We are integrating a model transport service for the beneficiaries, with two special vehicles, with an intention to improve the quality of life of the beneficiaries in terms of their mobility, which in a more efficient, simplified and timely manner would ensure better access, support and their inclusion in the social life.
We especially express gratitude to the blood donors for their humanity, because in 2021, through 692 blood donation actions, donated about 52,000 units of blood, so that the planned obligations are fulfilled over 100%.
We have upgraded the system of conducting first aid courses by integrating modern software solutions and contents in accordance with the latest guidelines issued by the Global First Aid Reference Center. We have opened a Center for first aid training and a Center for psychological first aid and psychosocial support, thus striving to develop a systemic approach and quality programs.
During the year we worked dedicatedly on building trust with the people and communities we serve, with our donors, partners, and the public and within our Movement. We have continuously invested in strengthening our transparency and accountability, and improving support systems and strengthening integrity and establishing personal and institutional accountability. In that regard, we express special gratitude to the media who continuously followed and promoted our activities and were a bridge between our organization and the partners and citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia.
On behalf of the Red Cross of the Republic of North Macedonia, the volunteers, the members, the employees and on my own behalf, I would like to wish you Happy New Year and Marry Christmas.
I would like to thank you for your support, but also to invite you next year to work together to make greater efforts to create a better future, based on human values, mutual support, solidarity and to be where it is most needed.
Secretary General of the Red Cross of RNM
PhD. Sait Saiti