We are proud to announce the completion of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Project in Northwest Syria, in partnership with the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations-Canada (UOSSM Canada).
Following almost 10 years of civil war and displacement of the population, Syria’s healthcare system had been decimated. According to the World Health Organization, only 50% of hospitals across Syria were fully functioning, 25% were partially functioning due to a shortage of staff, equipment, medicines or damage to hospital buildings, while the remaining 25% were not functioning at all.
Health workers have directly suffered the effects of the war, both personally and professionally, and have often been targets themselves. By 2013, 70% of the workforce had left the country COVID-19 has added even more pressure to the healthcare system, affecting the health outcomes of the residents of Syria as well as the remaining healthcare professionals who are treating them. Inadequate distribution of personal protective equipment and shortages of supplies has led to high death counts of healthcare workers.
As part of CMF’s Stop the Gaps Campaign, CMF partnered with the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations-Canada (UOSSM Canada), which is part of a coalition of humanitarian, non-governmental, and medical organizations from Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Turkey. Member organizations pool their resources and coordinate joint projects to provide independent and impartial relief and medical care to victims of war in Syria.
In northwest Syria UOSSM currently operates 14 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs), 7 hospitals, 22 specialized health and mental health centres, 8 mobile clinics, as well as 13 Corona Community Treatment Centres.
T19 Emergency Response Project was designed to protect medical personnel and non-medical staff working in close contact with COVD-19 patients at Corona Treatment-Community Centres (CCTCs) through the provision of vital PPE and hygiene supplies such as disposable gowns, aprons and masks, personal protective equipment (Class B) face shields, protective goggles, surgical bonnets, gloves (surgical and examination), shoe covers, and basic items like hand sanitizer and soap.
The PPE and hygiene supplies were distributed to health facilities in Idlib & Aleppo/ Northwest Syria funded by The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a Rehabilitation Unit in Sarmada, and the vaccination team in Ariha Primary Health Care Centre.
Challenges Experienced in the implementation of this project included:
- Increasingly new cases of COVID-19 emerged.
- Poor living and health conditions in northwestern Syria.
- A large number of patients need frequent visits to health centers
- Great need for personal protective equipment, both for the staff and patients.
- Infected staff caused service to be suspended
- Protective equipment alleviated the spread of infection and the widespread psychological stress as a result of a deficiency of PPE and also led to a decrease in the material cost to the community of obtaining PPE.
- CMF helped support the procurement of 9,288 items for the healthcare facilities
- CMF helped support the purchase and distribution of supplies for 1031 healthcare workers and staff. Items included items such as disposable gowns, masks, protective face shields and goggles.