Edinburg, TX – Northwest Syria is in a critical situation with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Since August 15, cases have risen at an alarming rate. The current positivity rate is lingering at around 55%. Hospital beds and ICUs are threatening to reach full capacity. Currently, there are only 173 ICU beds available throughout northwest Syria. This is further exacerbated by the shortage of PPE, medical supplies and equipment, including oxygen. The gap in oxygen supplies is at about 40%. The situation is dire and will prove catastrophic if not contained.
This comes at a time when there is a growing need for humanitarian assistance in northwest Syria. Between 2020 and 2021 the number of people in need has increased from 2.8 to 3.4 million people. Under current conditions, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Northwest Syria will be devastating.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, president of UOSSM USA said, “The situation is dire and deeply concerning and the results could be catastrophic with a high positivity rate, low vaccination rate and limited available ICU beds to treat the sick. In other countries, people have fought COVID-19 by staying home, social distancing, sanitizing their hands and wearing masks. When we ask the people of northwest Syria to stay home they have no home… we ask people to wear masks when there are no masks… We ask displaced and needy families to wash their hands where there is no water, and we ask people to social distance when they are living in crowded displacement camps. We call on the international community to take action by providing humanitarian and medical aid, increasing hospital capacity, and ensuring that people in northwest Syria get vaccinated to prevent a humanitarian disaster. Millions of lives are at stake.“
UOSSM is responding with the following:
- COVID-19 Community Treatment Centers (CCTC)- 12 CCTCs include isolation area and severe case management.
- Triage and Screening Mechanism Units- in front of 12 PHCs and includes triage tent and an examination tent.
- Oxygen – including new oxygen station and 105 oxygen concentrators
- Providing PPE- including distribution of 50,000 KN95 masks and PPE to 20 health facilities.
- Distributing Medicines and Supplies
- Coordination and Capacity Building- for medical workers
- Awareness Raising Campaigns- throughout communities, via flyers, media, and social media.
- Psychosocial Support- through helpline in southern Turkey, and 3 helplines in northwest Syria, plus 2 mental health mobile clinics