The demand for social and medical services has grown exponentially in the Republic of Moldova since the start of COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of the state of emergency. As the Moldovan healthcare sector was struggling to cope with the influx of patients, especially in the rural areas, civil society organisations had to step up and share the burden with their public sector colleagues.

Center for Social and Medical Home Assistance “CASMED” was among those who came to aide and got actively involved in the pandemic response. Despite being one of the largest organisations providing socio-medical home care services in over 50 localities in the northern region of Moldova, CASMED had to further expand its team of professionals to meet the demand for their social and medical services increased by 20%.

Periodically, over 50 employees of the organisation used to meet to discuss the successes, challenges, and to attend professional development events. However, CASMED had to suspend all working sessions and training activities with its staff. The organisation was struggling to address growing training needs as revenues from the income-generating activity and private donations completely disappeared during this period, and the available resources were redirected to provide much needed services.

Technical and digital support to civil society organisations under the “COVID 19: Civil Society Resilience and Sustainability” project was provided by Equal Rights and Independent Media (ERIM, formerly IREX Europe), equipping CASMED conference room with interactive whiteboard, projector, webcam, microphone and speakers.

Using the equipment, on 14-16 and 17-18 December, over 65 employees of CASMED discussed how to recognisestress, what the consequences of stress at work are and how to prevent it. They also focused on how to protect their own health and that of beneficiaries from the burden of COVID-19.

Participant Ludmila Guilă, a social worker, noted: “When you work directly with people, you are also exposed to negative messages, which affect you emotionally and psychologically. The training I attended will help me cope more easily with the challenges I face in my daily activities, because I understood what steps I need to take when I feel tired and how to relax, how to organise the day so that I don’t get exhausted and keep a good mood.”