What does the spread of COVID-19 mean for PTB’s International Cooperation Department and what challenges do we have to face? Effective immediately, the International Cooperation Department will be providing answers to these questions on a specially designed website: www.covid19.ptb.de.
The ongoing spread of Sars-CoV-2 has left its mark throughout the world. The social and economic impacts can be felt clearly everywhere. Many of our partner countries have been affected to a particularly serious degree. More than ever before, insufficient healthcare and medical equipment as well as economic uncertainty represent a wide-ranging existential danger. It is now particularly important for PTB to maintain its International Cooperation Department, as a functioning quality infrastructure is essential to countering the economic and social consequences of the pandemic. The same is true for carrying out measures related to health that contribute to stemming the pandemic; examples of such measures include the certification of medical protective clothing, the calibration of infrared thermometers and the testing of respiratory equipment.
Since March 2020, PTB has been in flexible operational status, which means that all staff members who are able to work from home should do so. As goes without saying, we observe the hygiene and distancing regulations during direct contact with our colleagues. Thus, restrictions also apply to direct exchanges on site at PTB. It is no surprise that official travel is currently prohibited: this means that, while solidarity is strong, cooperation is currently being structured much differently than it normally is. Although we use a wide variety of platforms to participate in virtual consultations, workshops and discussions, we miss the personal exchanges with our project partners on site.
Following some initial rough patches that are intrinsic to any transition of this nature, we can now see that cooperation is becoming better and better. However, our efforts still need to be improved considerably, as our processes require a greater level of support than usual.
To allow the International Cooperation Department to fulfil its task of contributing to the goals of German Development Cooperation, even during the corona pandemic, an interdisciplinary taskforce has been founded.
Staff members and experts from different fields participate regularly in this task force to discuss and develop concepts. Here, one aim is to establish measures that will contribute to lessening the impact of the pandemic in our partner countries by strengthening their national quality infrastructure. Another aim is to develop ideas concerning how virtual work processes can be improved in a general sense and how our participation in different projects can take place virtually.
In order to allow all PTB staff members, our partner countries and the general public to be informed of the taskforce’s activities, we have created a new website. We update this website on an ongoing basis in the hopes that this will allow us to handle current questions and developments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Information on and links to our international partners complement the range of topics. If you would like to go beyond reading and actively discuss the content, a forum provides this option.
We would therefore like to invite you have a look at the first version of our website here: www.covid19.ptb.de.
Do you have suggestions or an interesting contribution you feel the website is missing? Please contact us.
Please stay healthy!