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COVID Positivity Rate at 55% in Northwest Syria; Situation Dire
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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

Daraa is under attack.
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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2021

 

BREAKING: Humanitarian Crisis Unfolding in Daraa, Syria

 

Edinburg, TX – A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Daraa, Syria, as around 55,000 civilians – 10,000 families, are under siege with little to no access to food, medical care, medicine, or basic human needs. The city of Daraa has been under siege since June 24, 2021. The humanitarian situation is deteriorating rapidly. Many families are risking their lives fleeing to nearby areas in search of a safe haven for their families, while thousands of families remain in a dangerous situation, besieged and under attacks.

 

UOSSM is responding to the catastrophic situation in Daraa by providing immediate medical relief and food essentials to besieged and displaced families in need. Working with local organizations, UOSSM is able to provide emergency aid in the besieged and hard-to-reach areas in Daraa, and provide basic essentials needed to survive.

 

Since 2012, UOSSM has been on the ground providing medical aid and emergency relief to besieged and hard-to-reach areas inside Syria. UOSSM calls on all parties to provide safe passage and immediate access for humanitarian and medical aid. The lives of the elderly, young children and vulnerable populations are particularly at stake.

 

Dr. Khaula Sawah, President of UOSSM USA said, “We are very concerned with the current humanitarian situation in Daraa. We urge the international community to take immediate action to lift the siege on the people of Daraa, cease all violence against innocent civilians, and provide safe and secure humanitarian access by the UN and other humanitarian actors. The international community must act now! Thousands of lives are at risk if no immediate action is taken.” 

 


For Media Inquiries Please Contact:
Najah Allouch:
UOSSM USA- Director of Public Relations
Email: press@uossm.us

 

Since 2012, UOSSM has been providing emergency medical relief and healthcare services to the Syrian people affected by the crisis, working primarily inside Syria and with Syrian refugees in Turkey.
In 2020:
  • UOSSM provided medical services to almost 1 million people in Syria and Turkey
  • UOSSM provided primary health care services to over 582,000 people
  • UOSSM provided protection services to over 55,000 people
  • UOSSM provided over 281,000 beneficiaries with nutrition services focused on women and children
  • UOSSM Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services provided care to over 34,000 people
  • UOSSM Bab Al Hawa Hospital provided health care services to over 1 million patients since establishment through the end of 2019
Multiple Airstrikes Target Marketplace in Idlib Syria
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Dallas, Texas- Multiple airstrikes targeted a busy marketplace today in Maarat Al Nouman, Idlib, from 8:36-9:00 a.m. Damascus time, killing at least 37 people, many of the victims were women and children. Among those killed was a Syrian Civil Defense volunteer (White Helmets) as he was working to save victims of the first attack (known as a ‘double tap’ attack). Those numbers are expected to rise as bodies are still being pulled from under the rubble. At least 73 have been killed and over 110 were wounded in the past two days in North West Syria as the bombardment continues. Among those killed, two were Syrian Civil Defense Workers (White Helmets), and one was a hospital guard.
The bombardment continues to wreak havoc on the 3.5 million civilians of Idlib. Since April 28, at least 637 have been killed, and over 1497 have been wounded, among them 22 humanitarian workers were killed and 29 wounded. At least 34 medical facilities were targeted, and at least 50 schools have been bombed. It is estimated that the number of displaced has reached half a million people. Large numbers of the displaced are women and children, with nowhere to go. The situation is dire and continues to worsen by the day. In addition, eight water supply facilities have been damaged in northwest Syria, affecting 25,000 people according to UNICEF.
UOSSM condemns attacks on civilian areas and calls on the international community to put a stop on these attacks.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, Vice President of UOSSM USA said, “The images and videos coming in from Maarat Al Nouman in the past two days have shook me to my core. It is so painful to see young children, killed and wounded and suffering immensely. When is the international community going to stop this? In the past three months, at least 637 people have been killed. They were human beings just like us, they feel pain, they have children, families and loved ones just like us. But for some reason the world continues to turn a blind eye to the atrocities, and war crimes against human beings just like us. They are all victims of brutal, offensive strikes. I appeal to everyone’s heart and conscience to take a stand. The situation is dire. “
*Numbers are expected to rise as bodies are being pulled from underneath the rubble.
Multiple Airstrikes Target Marketplace in Idlib Syria
Multiple Airstrikes Target Marketplace in Idlib Syria

First Doctor Dies From COVID-19 in Northern Syria
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The first doctor has died from COVID-19 in Northern Syria. Please scroll to read the full press release:

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2020
BREAKING: First Doctor Dies From COVID-19 in Northern Syria
Dallas, TX – Yesterday, the area of northern Syria lost its first doctor to COVID-19. Dr. Adnan Jasem was working in Al Bab Hospital where he contracted the virus. Dr. Jasem, 58, was on a ventilator, as he lost his battle with the coronavirus.
Dr. Jasem saved countless lives, risking his life in service of others, survived a bombing in his home and was forcibly displaced several times.
The coronavirus made its way late into northwest Syria. As of September 10, there are a total of 170 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three deaths, eight of which are healthcare workers. UOSSM has been working tirelessly on the ground to stop the spread of the coronavirus with the following measures:
  • Establishing and operating community-based isolation centers (CBICs)
  • Supporting primary health care centers (PHC’s)
  • Sterilization of displacement camps
  • Distribution of hygiene kits containing sanitizing and personal care items
  • Distribution of nutrition and food baskets
  • Establishing a distance-learning center in Afrin
  • Distributing educational awareness brochures about COVID-19 in areas of displacement.
  • Training medical staff on handling suspected COVID-19 cases

Dr. Khaula Sawah, President of UOSSM USA said, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Dr. Jasem, he risked his life ever day trying to save others. He survived bombings and displacement but unfortunately was unable to survive the deadly coronavirus. We would like to extend our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences to Dr. Jasem’s family. What a loss to the region.”

For Media Inquiries Please Contact:
Najah Allouch:
UOSSM USA- Director of Public Relations
Email: press@uossm.us
Since 2012, UOSSM has been providing emergency medical relief and healthcare services to the Syrian people affected by the crisis, working primarily inside Syria and with Syrian refugees in Turkey.
In 2018 UOSSM:
  • Provided almost 2.5 million medical services
  • Supported 14 primary health care centers and 13 mobile clinics
  • Provided nutrition services to over 162,000 people focused on women and children
  • Provided Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services to 110,096  beneficiaries
  • UOSSM Bab Al Hawa Hospital provided health care services to over 1 million patients since establishment through the end of 2019
Media Contact:
Name: Najah Allouch
Title: Director of Public Relations
Email Address: press@uossm.us
BREAKING: First Case of COVID-19 Reported in North Western Syria, Imminent Threat To Displaced Persons
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On July 7, a 39 year old doctor working in north western Syria was tested for COVID-19 and was confirmed positive today. This is the first reported case of COVID-19 in north western Syria. The doctor entered Syria two weeks ago and visited his wife in Al Bab city (Aleppo Governate) between June 30 and July 1. The doctor immediately isolated himself upon symptoms, and contract-tracing procedures have been put in place for his interactions.

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2020
BREAKING: First Case of COVID-19 Reported in North Western Syria, Imminent Threat To Displaced Persons
Dallas, Texas- On July 7, a 39 year old doctor working in north western Syria was tested for COVID-19 and was confirmed positive today. This is the first reported case of COVID-19 in north western Syria. The doctor entered Syria two weeks ago and visited his wife in Al Bab city (Aleppo Governate) between June 30 and July 1. The doctor immediately isolated himself upon symptoms, and contract-tracing procedures have been put in place for his interactions. Bab Al Hawa Hospital, in which he worked has prohibited entry and exit, and has performed a complete quarantine of all doctor’s housing units. All medical staff are taking preventative measures and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Screening and monitoring mechanisms have been activated in the surrounding medical facilities.
The medical system in north western Syria does not have the capacity to cope with the influx. The UN reports that there are 4,178,480 people in north western Syria, living in densely populated conditions with little access to healthcare. In Idlib, (pop. 3.5+ million) there are under 300 ICU beds and a limited number of ventilators. The majority of the ventilators are currently in use and not available to treat COVID-19. In North Western Syria there is currently only one PCR Lab. In the past 12 months alone, 85 medical facilities have been attacked and most are currently not functional. The medical infrastructure cannot handle the existing population needs let alone a wide spread pandemic. Medical staff suffer from a shortage of masks, gloves, gowns, disinfectant, thermal scanners and other medical supplies.
Years of war and malnutrition have left many people’s immune systems compromised and the entire population susceptible to drastically higher mortality rates. It is predicted that the transmission rates will be dramatically higher than global averages due to densely populated internal displacement camps and multiple families living in the same dwelling.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, Vice President of UOSSM USA said, “The news of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in northern Syria is deeply distressing. There are are less than 300 ICU beds and the majority of adult ventilators are already in use with a population of over 4 million people. Medical supplies, PPE and testing are limited. The international community must take immediate action by supporting the area with equipment/supplies needed in case of a widespread outbreak. Northwest Syria is already suffering from a major humanitarian crisis, the failure to extend the UN cross-border resolution could be catastrophic especially now that COVID-19 has made its way into Northwest Syria.”
UOSSM’s Response:
  • UOSSM’s mobile clinics have made it a top priority to visit communities and educate the population on social distancing, hygiene practices and steps if people are symptomatic.
  •  UOSSM has nurse/staff in front of medical facilities to screen patients and direct them to the right area.
  • UOSSM has asked all health workers to attend the WHO online course “Introduction to Emerging Respiratory Viruses, Including Novel Coronavirus”.
  • UOSSM’s technical team has trained all health workers in UOSSM PHC centers on the detection of suspected cases, handling of cases, referral of cases, and reporting.
  • UOSSM is working in close collaboration with the Idlib Health Directorate to implement a ‘COVID-19 Response Plan’.
For Media Inquiries Please Contact:
Najah Allouch:
UOSSM USA Communications and Media Director
Email: press@uossm.us
Since 2012, UOSSM has been providing emergency medical relief and healthcare services to the Syrian people affected by the crisis, working primarily inside Syria and with Syrian refugees in Turkey.
In 2018:
  • UOSSM provided almost 2.5 million medical services
  • UOSSM supported 14 primary health care centers and 13 mobile clinics
  • UOSSM provided over 162,000 beneficiaries with nutrition services focused on
  • women and children
  • UOSSM provided nutrition services to over 162,000 people
  • UOSSM Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services provided care to 110,096  beneficiaries
  • UOSSM Bab Al Hawa Hospital provided health care services to over 1 million patients since establishment through the end of 2019
Media Contact:
Name: Najah Allouch
Title: Communications and Media Director
Email Address: press@uossm.us
Failure to Renew UN Cross-border Resolution Tomorrow Will be Catastrophic for Syria
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Months of intense bombing and displacement in North West Syria in early 2020, compounded by hyperinflation, has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis. The price of a typical food basket has increased by 200% in the past six months according to the World Food Program. Millions of Syrians depend on the aid that comes through the Turkish-Syrian border. By Friday July 10th, the international community will have to decide on the fate of Syrians as they vote on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC 2504) resolution to extend cross border aid deliveries into Syria.

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2020
Failure to Renew UN Cross-border Resolution Tomorrow Will be Catastrophic for Syria
Dallas, Texas- Months of intense bombing and displacement in North West Syria in early 2020, compounded by hyperinflation, has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis. The price of a typical food basket has increased by 200% in the past six months according to the World Food Program. Millions of Syrians depend on the aid that comes through the Turkish-Syrian border. By Friday July 10th, the international community will have to decide on the fate of Syrians as they vote on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC 2504) resolution to extend cross border aid deliveries into Syria.
Conditions in the country, particularly Northern Syria, warrant the immediate renewal of UNSC 2504. The Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic released a 29-page report detailing the intensified hostilities of parties to the conflict in Syria, particularly in Idlib and surrounding areas.
Aside from attacks on schools and markets, the commission reported a total of 17 attacks on medical facilities in the past seven months. Hospitals that are partially operating due to attacks or hospitals that are struggling to purchase materials due to inflation, will need the aid that comes through the Turkish-Syrian border to continue operating. Without local supply chains or procurement, maintaining cross-border operations will be vital. David Beasley, the head of the UN’s World Food Programme stated, “If we send cash in, they [Syrians] don’t have anything to buy, so we are now having to convert cash to food” (The National, 2020). Nearly 8 million people are food insecure, only half the country’s health facilities are fully functional, and with the looming threat of Covid-19 and famine, Syrians more than ever will be relying on the lifesaving aid that comes through the Turkish-Syrian border (OCHA, 2020; WFP, 2020). Without the border access, many NGOs will be unable to carry out their activities thus creating “a vacuum of service delivery and putting upwards of a million people at risk of acute food insecurity.” (CSIS, 2020).
Dr. Khaula Sawah, Vice President of UOSSM USA said, “We are deeply concerned that closing the border will have a severe negative impact on the Syrian people. Millions of Syrians rely on the humanitarian operations coming from Bab Al Hawa and Bab Al Salam. The Security Council must pass a resolution that supports the humanitarian needs of people on the ground in Syria, otherwise we will surely witness mass starvation and the spread of preventable disease.”
For Media Inquiries Please Contact:
Najah Allouch:
UOSSM USA Communications and Media Director
Email: press@uossm.us
Since 2012, UOSSM has been providing emergency medical relief and healthcare services to the Syrian people affected by the crisis, working primarily inside Syria and with Syrian refugees in Turkey.
In 2018:
  • UOSSM provided almost 2.5 million medical services
  • UOSSM supported 14 primary health care centers and 13 mobile clinics
  • UOSSM provided over 162,000 beneficiaries with nutrition services focused on
  • women and children
  • UOSSM provided nutrition services to over 162,000 people
  • UOSSM Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services provided care to 110,096  beneficiaries
  • UOSSM Bab Al Hawa Hospital provided health care services to over 1 million patients since establishment through the end of 2019
Media Contact:
Name: Najah Allouch
Title: Communications and Media Director
Email Address: press@uossm.us
Hyperinflation Creates Mass Starvation in Syria
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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2020

Hyperinflation Creates Mass Starvation in Syria

Dallas, Texas- The price of a typical food basket in Syria has increased by 200% in the past six months, according to the World Food Program (WFP). Many grocers, shops and pharmacies have shut down as business owners cannot keep up with the changing prices. The UN estimates 11 million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria. According to a WFP survey in April, 9.3 million people had food insecurity, and 87 percent had no savings. Since the beginning of May, the value of the Syrian Pound has more than halved. The official rate has gone from 704 to 1,256 Syrian Pounds to one USD. The unofficial rate is currently 2,500 Syrian Pounds to one USD.

The WFP estimates that 4.6 million children and breastfeeding mothers are in need of nutrition assistance with 3.7 million acute cases. It is feared that half a million children under five will suffer from stunting both physically and cognitively.

UOSSM requests the international community immediately increase deliveries of food, fuel and essentials to Syria, and further assist vulnerable populations.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, Vice President of UOSSM USA said, “We are deeply concerned for the health of millions throughout Syria. Years of unrest has decimated the health system and now millions are at risk for starvation. The massive rise in prices of food essentials is alarming. Many people cannot afford to feed their families based on salaries that remain the same despite inflation costs. This will lead to a rise in malnutrition and starvation and possibly even death. We call on the international community to take action to prevent the spread of starvation and save lives.”


For Media Inquiries Please Contact:
Najah Allouch:
UOSSM USA Communications and Media Director
Email: press@uossm.us


Since 2012, UOSSM has been providing emergency medical relief and healthcare services to the Syrian people affected by the crisis, working primarily inside Syria and with Syrian refugees in Turkey.

In 2018:

UOSSM provided almost 2.5 million medical services
UOSSM supported 14 primary health care centers and 13 mobile clinics
UOSSM provided over 162,000 beneficiaries with nutrition services focused on
women and children
UOSSM provided nutrition services to over 162,000 people
UOSSM Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services provided care to 110,096 beneficiaries
UOSSM Bab Al Hawa Hospital provided health care services to over 1 million patients since establishment through the end of 2019

UOSSM USA Alarmed by COVID-19 Death Rate in Black Communities
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UOSSM USA is alarmed by the rate of death in black communities from the COVID-19 pandemic. During COVID-19 the world witnessed firsthand the effect of disparities in the US, with deaths of people of color at almost three times the rate of white people. According to an article on CNN.com, “Black Americans represent 13.4% of the American population according to the US Census Bureau, but counties with higher black populations account for more than half of all Covid-19 deaths, the study found. Disparities, including access to health care, are likely to blame.“

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2020
UOSSM USA Alarmed by COVID-19 Death Rate in Black Communities

Dallas, Texas- UOSSM USA is alarmed by the rate of death in black communities from the COVID-19 pandemic. During COVID-19 the world witnessed firsthand the effect of disparities in the US, with deaths of people of color at almost three times the rate of white people. According to an article on CNN.com, “Black Americans represent 13.4% of the American population according to the US Census Bureau, but counties with higher black populations account for more than half of all Covid-19 deaths, the study found. Disparities, including access to health care, are likely to blame.“

Racial health disparities exist in the US and must be addressed. In an article by The Guardian , “Black Americans Dying of COVID-19 at Three Times the Rate of White People,” more than 20,000 African Americans- about one in 2,000 of the entire black population in the US- have died from the disease. Racial disparities are affecting the lives of African Americans in all aspects of society; ultimately affecting the public health of underserved communities. With the knowledge that COVID-19 disproportionately affects black and Hispanic communities, UOSSM USA asks health care agencies to help resolve the health inequities in these communities.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, Vice President of UOSSM USA said, “We are deeply concerned about the existing racial inequality in our community that is claiming the lives of many affected people. It is disappointing to see the incredible health disparity and suffering of minorities in what is the richest country in the world. The US medical system must do better and take immediate steps to resolve the inequities. UOSSM USA’s board of directors and support members will do their part and continue addressing racial health disparity by providing medical care to marginalized and underserved communities.”
People wait for a distribution of masks and food in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP
For Media Inquiries Please Contact:
Najah Allouch:
UOSSM USA Communications and Media Director
Email: press@uossm.us
Since 2012, UOSSM has been providing emergency medical relief and healthcare services to the Syrian people affected by the crisis, working primarily inside Syria and with Syrian refugees in Turkey.
In 2018:
  • UOSSM provided almost 2.5 million medical services
  • UOSSM supported 14 primary health care centers and 13 mobile clinics
  • UOSSM provided over 162,000 beneficiaries with nutrition services focused on
  • women and children
  • UOSSM provided nutrition services to over 162,000 people
  • UOSSM Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services provided care to 110,096  beneficiaries
  • UOSSM Bab Al Hawa Hospital provided health care services to over 1 million patients since establishment through the end of 2019
Media Contact:
Name: Najah Allouch
Title: Communications and Media Director
Email Address: press@uossm.us
BREAKING: Syria Reports First Case of COVID-19, UOSSM Expects Parabolic Jump In Cases
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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2020

BREAKING: Syria Reports First Case of COVID-19, UOSSM Expects Parabolic Jump In Cases

Dallas, Texas- This weekend the Syrian Government reported their first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Damascus (not including Northern Syria). UOSSM projects a significantly higher number of cases that have gone unreported. Over 80% of the medical infrastructure in Syria is operating at a limited capacity and COVID-19 testing kits are extremely inaccessible.

UOSSM predicts a parabolic jump of cases in North Western Syria in the next two weeks. The medical system definitively does not have the capacity to cope with the influx. The UN reports that there are 4,178,480 people in North Western Syria, living in densely populated conditions with little access to healthcare. In Idlib (pop. 3.5+ million) there are 201 ICU beds and only 95 ventilators. 100% of the ventilators are currently in use and not available to treat COVID-19 patients. In North Western Syria there is currently only one PCR Lab. In the past 12 months alone, 85 medical facilities have been attacked and most are currently not functional. The medical infrastructure cannot handle the existing population needs let alone a wide spread pandemic. Medical staff suffer from a shortage of masks, gloves, gowns, disinfectant, thermal scanners and other medical supplies.
Years of war and malnutrition have left many people’s immune systems compromised and the entire population susceptible to drastically higher mortality rates. It is predicted that the transmission rates will be dramatically higher than global averages due to densely populated IDP camps and multiple families living in the same dwelling.

Dr. Khaula Sawah, Vice President of UOSSM USA said, “ Even though there is only one confirmed case this does not reflect the actual number of active cases in Syria. There have been reports of people who are sick with symptoms similar to COVID-19 however there is very limited laboratory diagnostic capacity to confirm. According to WHO and based on the current epidemiological situation in the region with the rapid spread of cases in neighboring countries, including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, WHO considers the overall risk for Syria to be very high. Considering the disrupted and fragile health system, the risk of the spread of diseases is high in Aleppo and Idleb governorates.
It is terrifying to think about what will happen if this spreads to areas of displacement, as millions are living in densely populated areas with no option for social distancing, limited access to soap, clean water, medical supplies, and a major shortage of ICU beds and ventilators. I fear the death toll could be catastrophic.”

UOSSM ‘s response and preparedness plan for Covid-19 as follows:

UOSSM’s mobile clinics have made it a top priority to visit communities and educate the population on social distancing, hygiene practices and steps if people are symptomatic.
UOSSM has nurse/staff in front of medical facilities to screen patients and direct them to the right area.
UOSSM has asked all health workers to attend the WHO online course “Introduction to Emerging Respiratory Viruses, Including Novel Coronavirus”.
UOSSM’s technical team has trained all health workers in UOSSM PHC centers on the detection of suspected cases, handling of cases, referral of cases, and reporting.
UOSSM is working in close collaboration with the Idlib Health Directorate to implement a ‘COVID-19 Response Plan’. A few days ago, the Idlib Health Directorate announced the opening of an epidemic surveillance laboratory to carry out PCR tests to identify COVID-19 (testing kits currently unavailable).

COVID-19 Imminent Threat in Syria
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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2020

BREAKING: COVID- 19 Imminent Threat in Syria

Dallas, Texas- The global spread of COVID-19 has created an imminent epidemiological threat to Syria and refugees in surrounding countries. Cases have been reported in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Israel and Turkey. North Western Syria is particularly vulnerable given a population of close to 4 million people, including 1 million IDPs, packed into densely populated areas. Years of war and malnutrition have left many people’s immune systems compromised and the entire population susceptible to drastically higher mortality rates. It is predicted that the transmission rates will be dramatically higher than global averages due to densely populated internally displaced persons (IDP) camps and multiple families living in the same dwelling.

In the past 12 months alone, 85 medical facilities have been attacked and most are currently not functional. The medical infrastructure cannot handle the existing population needs let alone a wide spread pandemic. The medical system suffers from a shortage of masks, gloves, gowns, disinfectant, thermal scanners and other medical supplies.

UOSSM calls on the international community to immediately provide personal protective equipment, thermal scanners, quarantine units and lab testing kits/ capacity to prevent this humanitarian catastrophe.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, Vice President of UOSSM USA said, “Protective measures must be taken to prevent a major outbreak of the Coronavirus in areas of displacement. People are living in densely populated areas and there is no option of social distancing for many. Medical facilities are in desperate need of medical supplies and testing equipment. We urge the international community to ensure that families in areas of displacement are protected to prevent another humanitarian catastrophe.”

UOSSM has developed a preparedness plan for Covid-19 as follows:

• UOSSM developed guidelines based on WHO guidelines and publications, which cover identification of the disease and how to manage the suspected cases.
• The guideline was distributed in all UOSSM PHC centers.
• UOSSM asked all health workers to attend the WHO online course “Introduction to emerging respiratory viruses, including novel coronavirus”.
• UOSSM technical field team will provide health workers in all health facilities with technical support with regards to the coronavirus.
• UOSSM will prepare IEC, posters and brochures about the virus and hygiene. They will be distributed in PHC centers.
• UOSSM’s technical team will organize a meeting with all health workers in UOSSM PHC centers in order to train them on the detection of suspected cases, handling of cases, referral of cases, and reporting.

UOSSM is coordinating closely with the WHO and other partners to manage this situation as it develops.

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