Activities of Hungarian Red Cross volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic - Case study

Dóra Ipolyi - András Molnár


The coronavirus pandemic posed a major challenge to health care systems. In this situation, governments involved social and volunteer organizations in the health care and social field to expand their limited capacity. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is present worldwide on the front line of the COVID response, and the Hungarian Red Cross has been carrying out its epidemiological tasks in Hungary since the beginning of the first wave involving of a large number of volunteers, which requires appropriate and well-organized volunteer coordination. The 140 years of experience of the Hungarian Red Cross in volunteer management and emergency response has contributed significantly to its smooth and effective cooperation with the healthcare system.

In our case study, we present the responsibilities of the volunteers of the Hungarian Red Cross during the pandemic and the tasks and challenges of volunteer coordination. We present the issues that necessitate volunteering and highlight factors that can be identified as good practices and challenges. Our case study finds that volunteers, given the appropriate management, successfully support the healthcare system. However, this requires effective communication and coordination between the participating organizations and experience of the host organization in involving volunteers. Based on the findings of this study, there is a need for long-term development of the concept of volunteering in health care, for the training of institutions with no experience in this field, and for the development of appropriate guidelines or methodology in addition to the examination of existing procedures.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, Hungarian Red Cross, volunteering, emergency, volunteer coordination, needs, challenges,