A country at war for the better part of a decade is not the place you want to contract COVID-19. Many of the wealthiest nations struggle to contain the virus’ spread, and to successfully treat those who get sick.
In one part of Syria where we’re providing essential medical care for displaced families, the local health directorate estimates that there are 20 ICU beds with ventilators for the whole province.
As of 2011, before the war, roughly 1.5 million people lived here. Even a small outbreak would completely overwhelm the system.
Syria has only 19 confirmed cases of coronavirus, but our medical team is doing everything it can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and to bring wellness to families who went years without healthcare.
Our mobile hospital continues to see patients needing a wide range of care, for the kind of chronic diseases you find pretty much anywhere (like diabetes and hypertension) to everyday injuries. Without access to care, chronic diseases and accidental cuts can become life-threatening.
Our mobile clinics go into neighborhoods to find displaced families who can’t get to our mobile hospital, extending our reach even farther. Clinic staff take every precaution to protect themselves from potential contact with coronavirus. They are protecting the patients they serve as well, using infrared thermometers to check for fevers, from a safe distance.
And across all locations where we work, we’ve increased handwashing stations and are providing more opportunities for everyone to sanitize their hands, as many families have trouble doing that at home.
Educating patients about COVID-19 is just as vital right now. Most Syrians, even those displaced to remote, rural areas, have heard about coronavirus. But they don’t have the information they need to make the best choices for their circumstances.
It’s incredibly difficult for most displaced families to take adequate precautions. Families are often living in close quarters, without the luxury of space for social distancing. Some families have little access to water, and certainly not enough for frequent handwashing. It’s also tough to think about fashioning a face mask when the only clothes you have are the ones you wore when you fled home.
And for women like Maryam, there are more pressing things to worry about than a virus you can’t even see… the basics, like securing food and shelter.
Help us continue to show up for widows like Maryam…
For stressed fathers trying to balance blood sugar levels fluctuating from the stress of displacement…
For teenagers who believe they’re invincible but get hurt just the same…
And for little girls who love pink… and still get sick in the spring.