Covid-19MagazineMagazine Exclusive

From anxiety to outrage to hope

A resurgence of the COVID–19 outbreak now would add yet another layer of complexity to an already exploding scenario for 2020. In the midst of massive and global protest in reaction to the death of former Salvation Army employee George Floyd, and most recently the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, anxiety over the pandemic has turned to outrage against injustice; thousands of shouting voices and marching feet have trampled mandates for social distancing. Although the media has turned its attention on the drama unfolding in city streets, doctors and other health care workers continue to wage a desperate struggle to save lives in our nation’s hospitals. This is the final installment of From Anxiety to Outrage to Hope, that will put the spotlight back on Salvationists who are doing this essential work.


Dorianeh to the rescue

Being stranded at an airport in a foreign country is probably the most undesirable outcome one can imagine during an international trip. Add the COVID–19 pandemic to the scenario and things can go from bad to worse astonishingly fast. In fact, the fear of sleeping in a passenger terminal among hundreds of potentially asymptomatic but infected travelers, was enough to keep one woman awake all night.

“I remember specifically talking to her. She was in London at the time,” says Salvationist Dorianeh Stanford. “She was actually at the airport and on her way home to Dubai when she found out. Officials there were unique in how they enforced travel restrictions. For a time, they weren’t even letting residents return.

“Of course, she was an emotional wreck, Stanford says. “‘What am I gonna do?’ the woman shouted. ‘How am I going to get home?’”

Fortunately, Stanford helped the traveler connect with friends in another country. “Eventually she ended up getting back home to Dubai. But imagine that initial moment of shock and what that was like for pretty much everyone who was traveling at that time when the restrictions started coming out. There was a new one every day,” says Stanford.

 

Managing the logistics of healthcare

Stanford is an operations coordinator for International SOS, the world’s leading medical and security services company. They are in the business of saving and protecting lives, when involved in medical or security situations. Stanford is among 11,000 multicultural medical, security, and logistics experts who are on standby to provide support and assistance from over 1,000 locations in 90 countries, 24/7.

“Though I am not a medical professional, I handle the logistics side of our services,” says the daughter of Salvation Army officers in the USA Eastern Territory. “So, our clients are business travelers, expatriates, and university students studying abroad. While they are traveling, we assist in ensuring that they receive medical care, when needed.”

Such care could be as simple as arranging hospital visits for the sick or injured. In some extreme cases, Stanford helps medevac them to receive upgraded care. Since the pandemic hit, the calls for help have spiked around the world. Many of them come from individuals whose travel plans were suddenly cancelled. As clearance needs and restrictions changed, her biggest challenges have come from the delays and rerouting of air ambulance missions and rearranging charter flights for large student groups.

 

COVID–19 is serious business

“We first started seeing COVID–19 cases in China back in January. So, we’ve been dealing with it since the beginning before it had reached the pandemic level. It seemed like something new was happening every day. We were dealing with travel restrictions. So, the business itself has changed quite a bit.”

Those changes include putting people in quarantine, clearing them to enter a different country, and negotiating the variety of restrictions and protocols particular to each country. “Normally we only help international travelers, but our work has been transformed to include assisting domestic clients just because of the nature of the situation.”

Stanford, who has been with the company for a year and a half, also studied international business and graduated in 2017. Working for this company has given her exposure to how business is done in different countries and how diverse cultures play a significant role in influencing those businesses.

“Now that things are a little bit stable and restrictions are being pulled back gradually, we’re seeing a little bit of a decrease in calls because people are staying in place. But we’ve had a record number of medical cases since COVID–19 started. We’re talking about possibly a 250% increase,” Stanford says.

by Warren L. Maye

 

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