Edinburg, TX – Over 150 people have been killed and hundreds wounded after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Turkey and Syria causing massive damage early Monday morning. Those numbers are expected to rise dramatically as many buildings collapsed with large numbers of people buried under the rubble. There are many reports of complete families buried under the rubble of those buildings. Hospitals are overwhelmed with the number of crush and trauma injuries. At least one hospital in northern Syria is being evacuated after its structure was compromised.
UOSSM calls on the international community to release emergency funds to provide aid and rescue resources immediately. UOSSM hospitals and medical facilities are overwhelmed and will need support to ensure lives are saved during this crisis. Countless families became homeless yet again and are in desperate need of shelter, medical aid, food, and sources for heat.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, President of UOSSM USA said, “The news we are seeing is terrifying and heartbreaking. We know building infrastructures in Syria have already been compromised from years of bombing campaigns. We need urgent aid immediately so we can help save lives of those injured in this massive earthquake. Our staff is working tirelessly but are overwhelmed with the numbers of casualties. We need urgent support immediately! Countless lives are at stake.”
You can donate and support our work on the ground here.
Providing Dental Surgeries to Special Needs Children in Jordan
Families of special needs children in Jordan often find it difficult to provide their children with the dental care that they desperately need. Unfortunately, because of the challenges related to caring for children with special needs, some other basic health needs can get pushed aside. Even if the families are able to find dental care for their children with special needs, it can prove to be rather costly and out of reach. But as part of UOSSM USA’s Surgeries project, which aims to provide a variety of surgeries, free of charge, to refugee, needy, and other underserved families in Jordan, we recently identified three special needs children who needed costly dental services: Asma, a 5-year-old with Down Syndrome, from Jordan; Yousef, a 6-year-old with autism, from Gaza Strip who resides in Jordan; and Tala, a 10-year-old with Down Syndrome, from Jordan.
In November, we coordinated with the Director of Al-Hannan Hospital, Bassam Alzuobi, and Dr. Serena Abu Dayyeh to provide complete dental services in just one session to three special needs children, under full anesthesia.
All three children had multiple cavities and other dental problems but could not receive the dental treatment without complete anesthesia. Their families were so grateful and overjoyed seeing that their children’s pain was alleviated, and they could now eat pain-free! You can watch the heartwarming video here!
Thanks to these surgical missions, we were able to ultimately improve the health and overall wellbeing of those children who would not otherwise have the access or the means to these vital surgical operations/procedures.
Thanks to the support of donors like you, we are able to reach these families and provide them with the support services that they need!
Together we are saving lives and building hope.
One of Most Important Specialty Hospitals in Northwest Syria
UOSSM-supported Aqrabat Orthopedic and Reconstructive Surgery Specialty Hospital is widely considered one of the most important specialty hospitals in northwest Syria. The hospital provides specialty care, along with medical clinics, radiology, surgery, and emergency departments, and is in the vicinity of displacement camps in Atma, Qah, Aqrabat, and Kafrloseen, in addition to nearby cities and villages.
Each month, approximately 950 major surgeries and 700 minor surgeries are performed in the hospital.
During the last two days of 2022, UOSSM USA distributed 500 food baskets filled with food essentials to 500 families (~2,500 people) in Rukban Camp in southern Syria. Located on the border of southern Syria and Jordan, this makeshift camp has 12,000 displaced people, 80% of whom are children and women. More than half of those families are in dire need of food essentials. The food baskets will help protect the families from hunger and boost their immunity to help fight diseases. You can learn more about Rukban Camp here.
Supporting New Healthcare Center in Idlib
UOSSM is supporting a new healthcare center in Hafarsaja, Idlib, which will help reduce the gap in medical care in the area. The center includes clinics in general care, obstetrics, dental care, wound care, and a pharmacy. In addition, the center will have three community health teams and two psychosocial support workers.
In collaboration with Bareeq Education Center, UOSSM USA held an open house on Wednesday, December 7th from 10 am to 3 pm, as part of our participation in the #16Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV) campaign. Several NGO partners were invited to participate in the event including Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), Danish Refugee Council (DRC), International Medical Corps (IMC), and Tamkeen. The event was led by women and attended by over 100 women and girls (ages 14-55), including Syrian refugees and host communities. It included several GBV awareness sessions led by our partners to include SAMS, DRC, Tamkeen, and IMC. The event also included a teen drawing session and a mini bazaar for women.
Girls and women walked away from the event understanding that they have the power to succeed…that they have the power to walk away from abuse…and that they know how to help others in abusive relationships. You can watch a video about the event here!
One afternoon, Ahmad and his brother were tending their flock of sheep. As they were herding the sheep, they ran into something that caught their attention. They picked it up to see what it was and began playing around with their new “toy” when suddenly it blew up in their hands. The “toy” was actually a shell from a previous bombing that had not exploded.
Both brothers were severely injured and taken to the hospital. Ahmad’s legs were broken and injured so severely that his bone was exposed., His brother was wounded in the abdomen. Both boys had to undergo surgery although their injuries were thankfully not life-threatening.
Ahmad’s brother made a full recovery, but Ahmad’s injuries were much more complicated. His left leg healed after surgery, but the bones on his right leg were injured extensively. Ahmad was referred to Aqrabat Hospital for specialized care. Ahmad had to undergo several specialty procedures for his complex injuries, including reconstructive surgery which useed skin grafts to cover the exposed bone. Then he had to have the Vacuum Assisted Closure (VAC) device (typically used for severe or slow healing wounds) in two different stages for two weeks to remove excess liquids.
The team at Aqrabat Hospital is still caring for Ahmad until he makes a full recovery.
Thanks to donors like YOU, children like Ahmad have access to these critical medical services.
Together, we are saving lives and building hope.
Edinburg, TX – As winter settles in bringing even more misery to the Syrian people, the looming threat of the failure to renew the United Nations Security Council Cross Border Resolution 2504 will put millions of lives in danger in northwest Syria. The vote is scheduled for January 10, 2023.
International funding has already decreased significantly in the region causing the loss of vital facilities, further adding to the suffering of over 4 million people at unprecedented levels. The spread of diseases and epidemics are an imminent threat if food and clean water deliveries are halted. Over 3 million people in the region are food insecure. Ongoing internal displacement continues to cause a rise in food and medical needs.
Winter continues to be the harshest time of year for displaced families. Last year, 30% of displacement camps were flooded by rain or snow.
According to the Syrian NGO Alliance (SNA), closing the border will lead to the closure of approximately 70 hospitals, over 180 health care centers, and over 80 mobile clinics that provide medical and primary health care services to over 4 million people in northwest Syria. This border crossing is considered a lifeline and is vital for millions in northwest Syria.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, President of UOSSM USA said, “Decisions on humanitarian aid should only be based on the extent of human need and suffering and not on politics. There are millions that will suffer if this lifeline is closed. We call on the international community to extend the resolution to ensure the most basic human needs, which is the bare minimum guaranteed by international laws. The resolution extension will ultimately save lives.”
UOSSM USA, in collaboration with Bareeq Education held an open house on Wednesday Dec. 7, part of our participation in the #16Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV) campaign. Several NGOs were invited to participate in the even including Syrian American Medical Society – SAMS, Danish Refugee Council – DRC, International Medical Corps – IMC, and Tamkeen. The event, led by women and attended by women, included several GBV awareness sessions led by partners, UOSSM USA, SAMS, DRC, Tamkeen, and IMC. The event also included a teen drawing session, and a mini bazaar for women. The event lasted from 10 am – 3 pm and was attended by over 100 women and girls ages 14-55, including Syrian refugees and host communities.
Girls and women walked away from the event understanding that they have the power to succeed…they have the power to walk away from abuse…and they know how to help others in abusive relationships. You can click here to watch a video about the event!
UOSSM USA Receives Federal Award!
We are excited to announce that UOSSM USA was awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of State to support educational enrichment integrated with psychosocial support services (PSS) to refugee and underserved children in Jordan! Working in collaboration with Bareeq Education and Development in Amman, this after-school program will assist 400 children in becoming better prepared to assimilate into local school systems.
UOSSM USA President, Dr. Khaula Sawah expressed, “We are honored to build upon our partnership with the Bareeq Center through this opportunity to continue enriching the education of children in Amman and providing the psychosocial support they so desperately need. Many of these children are Syrian refugees who have witnessed unimaginable atrocities, the loss of loved ones, displacement, and other traumatic experiences. Through this collaboration, we hope to empower these children to overcome their trauma. With the support of the U.S. Department of State, these children will not only receive equal access to education but also receive the nurturance they need to improve their overall wellbeing and contribute positively to our global society. Children are our future – they are our hope for a better tomorrow. We are very pleased to be a part of this transformational journey which will help them heal as they grow into adolescence and adulthood.”
The Spread of Cholera Continues in Northwest Syria
Cholera continues to spread in northwest Syria. As of October 31, at least 36 people have died from cholera in northern Syria since early September. The outbreak may be tied to unclean water from the Euphrates River which is used for drinking and watering crops (resulting in food contamination), and improper sewage among displacement camps.
UOSSM is responding with preventative measures for mild to moderate cases in northwest Syria to include the provision of:
Promoting Dialogue on World Mental Health Day
On World Mental Health Day (October 10), the UOSSM Psychiatric and Mental Illness Hospital in Sarmada organized an awareness-raising session on the importance of making mental health care accessible to everyone.
The various activities presented the severe effects of the conflict on the mental health of civilians. Through discussions, role-playing, and success stories, the life of someone with a mental illness was portrayed.
The event also included discussions and life experiences among the attendees and mental health workers, which deepened the importance of mental health and shed light on misconceptions about mental health and the importance of addressing the causes that lead to mental illness.
The training helps doctors handle and treat critical cases in hospitals, increasing the survival rate of patients with life-threatening diseases. Patients with life-threatening diseases often experience rapid deterioration of their health and unexpected side effects during treatment, which requires constant monitoring and immediate, and effective response by the medical staff.
This training is designed for internal medicine residents and family medicine residents who work in emergency and intensive care departments in hospitals that provide internal medicine services.
Even though parents are always fearful that something might happen to their child, it is important to allow them to experience things on their own. Being overly protective deprives a child of many opportunities to develop and grow. After completing the sessions, Ismael’s mother understood the importance of this and how to help him develop and grow in a positive way. She emphasized, “I gained so much knowledge from the program, I learned great ideas on creating fun activities and games with things we have around the house. I had no idea how effective these activities were for my child’s development!”
Thank you to our supporters who enable families like this to reach the programs they need, in such difficult circumstances, every single day.
Together, we continue to lives and build hope!
How YOU can help!
If you have any questions, please contact us at: email@example.com
Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) boards and staff throughout the world condemn the attack in Istanbul that has killed at least six people and injured 81. The attack happened in busy Istiklal Street earlier Sunday afternoon. It is still unclear who carried out the attack.
UOSSM condemns all attacks on innocent civilians and stands in solidarity with the Turkish people and the Turkish government.
Dr. Ghanem Tayara, President of UOSSM International said, “Our hearts are with the victims and the families of this horrific attack. The attack happened in the middle of the day on a very busy street filled with families enjoying their Sunday. We stand in solidarity with the Turkish people and government who have stood by and supported Syrians through their darkest and most difficult times. Innocent civilians are never a target. We hope the Turkish government finds those responsible and brings them to justice.”
Edinburg, TX – On Sunday, November 6, 2022, at 7:00 a.m. Damascus time, the Kafar Jalis Displacement Camp in northwest Syria was attacked by cluster bombs killing nine civilians, including three children and one woman, according to the Syrian Civil Defense. Over 75 others were wounded in the attack. Thousands of displaced people live in the camp that was attacked on Sunday.
In a separate attack, two civilians were injured in artillery shelling in the outskirts of Areeha and the village of Sarmin, south of Idlib.
These attacks were the first major attacks in a relatively calm year in Syria.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, President of UOSSM USA said, “It is deeply disturbing to hear of these attacks that once again targeted innocent civilians, using internationally prohibited cluster bombs. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, who are just trying to survive, in dire conditions. These bombings further add to their suffering. We call on the international community to stop these attacks on innocent civilians and to hold those responsible, accountable for their crimes. The lives of innocent families are in danger if attacks like this are not stopped.”
Providing the Gift of Sight to Syrian Refugees in Jordan
Vision impairment or vision loss can be a major burden on anyone, but can be especially difficult if that person does not have the means or access for the surgery to repair it. In September, UOSSM USA provided ophthalmic surgeries to Syrian refugees in Jordan who were experiencing moderate to complete vision loss.
Most of these patients have been suffering silently for years with continued deterioration of vision. Led by Dr. Muhammad Huwari, the team successfully performed four cataract (Phaco+iol) surgeries and one cross linking surgery. One patient was a pregnant woman who was in danger of losing her sight since doctors were refusing to do the surgery until after she delivered her baby – out of fear that the x-ray could harm the fetus. She struggled every day, but after delivering her healthy baby nine months later, she was able to have the cross-linking procedure and can now see again!
The ophthalmic surgeries are part of the UOSSM USA Surgeries project which aims to provide a variety of surgeries, free of charge, to refugee, needy, and other underserved families in Jordan, who would otherwise not have access or the means for these vital surgical operations. This will help improve their health and overall wellbeing, and alleviate their suffering.
Growing Fears of Cholera Outbreak in Northwest Syria
Fears of a Cholera outbreak are growing among the health sector in northwest Syria. With an already strained health care system due to years of war, attacks on healthcare facilities, and most recently, COVID, these fears have become a reality with the first two Cholera cases confirmed on September 17. This has now become an imminent danger, putting vulnerable lives at risk. The outbreak may be tied to unclean water from the Euphrates River which is used for drinking and watering crops (resulting in food contamination), and improper sewage among displacement camps.
Patients are experiencing acute watery diarrhea, vomiting with fever, and severe dehydration – all symptoms consistent with Cholera.
As of October 20, there were 14,844 suspected cases, and 27 deaths in northeast Syria, according to EWARN Syria. While in northwest Syria, there were 1,755 total suspected cases and 2 deaths in northwest Syria as well as 374 cases and 2 deaths in Nabaa Al Salam (Peace Spring). These numbers continue to rise.
UOSSM is responding with preventative measures in northwest Syria for mild to moderate cases including the provision of:
The CHWs will be responsible for:
– Providing awareness messages
– Distributing hygiene kits and oral rehydration solutions
– Referring suspected cases
For severe cases, UOSSM seeks to establish Cholera Treatment Units (CTU), treatment units attached to existing health facilities in northwest Syria.
Fifth Medical Mission to Ukraine for Surgical Trainings
UOSSM completed its fifth medical mission in late August with surgical trainings for surgeons. In partnership with the David Nott Foundation, UOSSM conducted two Hostile Environment Surgical Trainings (HEST) targeting 74 surgeons of various specialties who work in hospitals receiving critical trauma injuries in eastern Ukraine.
The trainings were carried out in coordination with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health’s Scientific and Practical Disaster Management Center.
UOSSM will continue to respond as needed in Ukraine with vital surgical trainings. You can learn more about our work in Ukraine by clicking here.
Support our work in Ukraine by clicking here.
In mid-September, a UOSSM team went on a medical mission to Pakistan to assess the damage and to help support the people with medical and humanitarian aid. The catastrophic flooding caused a humanitarian crisis.
Approximately 33 million people have been affected with extremely limited access to food, clean water, shelter and medical care. Over 1.7 million homes were damaged, leaving thousands of displaced families. The unsanitary conditions have caused the spread of skin infections and other diseases such as Malaria and Cholera, especially among the most vulnerable, children and women. UOSSM is in the planning phase of supporting the people of Pakistan with a mobile clinic to provide access to desperately needed medical care. Watch this video to learn more about the crisis in Pakistan and UOSSM’s response.
You can support our work to reach those in Pakistan and other areas of crisis by clicking here.
On Sunday, September 18, the Idlib Health Directorate and UOSSM held a graduation ceremony for 43 students (14 females, 29 males) who earned the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nursing degree.
This degree program is part of the Research for Health Systems Strengthening in the Northwest of Syria (R4HSSS) project and is the first of its kind in the area. The degree program aims to ensure that the health sector has a wide variety of qualified, specialized nurses available to provide specialty care.
12-year-old Weam witnessed many traumatic events throughout the war in Syria, but the one that really affected her mental health was after her school was bombed while she was in class. She still remembers the scary sounds, one of her classmates passing out, and just the overall terrifying experience. As a result of this trauma, Weam became afraid of everything. She was not only afraid of the dark, but also of anyone who would talk with her.
Weam visited Al Bab Mental Health Center, where she received treatment to help her process and cope with her fears. Through the TRT (Teaching Recovery Techniques) for children treatment plan, we are happy to report that Weam has begun the healing process and is no longer afraid.
Countless children have been traumatized with what they have witnessed in Syria over the past 11 years.
Supporters like YOU can help them access mental health services, which will allow them to heal from these traumatic experiences and live more productive lives.
Did you know?
Since 2012, UOSSM has been providing emergency medical relief and healthcare services to the Syrian people affected by the crisis, working primarily inside Syria as well as with Syrian refugees in Turkey.
In 2021 UOSSM provided:
– medical services to almost 1.4 million people in Syria and Turkey
– protection services to over 55,000 people
– nutrition services focused on women and children to over 184,000 beneficiaries
– care to over 40,000 people through our mental health and psychosocial support program
– health care services to over 1 million patients at Bab Al Hawa Hospital through the end of 2019
UOSSM USA is a US federally tax-exempt non-profit 501(c)(3) Charitable Humanitarian organization. Tax-Exempt. Tax ID 47-3403988. All donations to UOSSM USA are fully deductible from taxes to the greatest extent permitted by law. Charitable Solicitation Disclosures available on our website: www.uossm.us
Copyright © *2022* *UOSSM USA, All rights reserved.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 19, 2022
UOSSM USA Partners with U.S. Department of State and Bareeq Educational Enrichment Center to Provide Enrichment and Psychosocial Support Services to Refugees and Underserved Children in Jordan
Edinburg, TX – UOSSM USA was recently awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of State to support educational enrichment integrated with psychosocial support services (PSS) to refugee and underserved children in Jordan. Working in collaboration with Bareeq Educational Enrichment Center (BEEC) in Amman, this after-school program will assist 400 children in becoming better prepared to integrate into local school systems. UOSSM USA will leverage this partnership to incorporate a refugee responsive teaching competencies model (RRTCM) that will enable refugee children to access enrichment programming after school, while also strengthening the capacity of teachers to provide academic enrichment through social emotional learning (SEL) and psychosocial support services (PSS)-specific activities.
The primary objectives of this after-school program are to:
Dr. Khaula Sawah, President of UOSSM USA stated, “We are honored to build upon our partnership with the Bareeq Center and have this opportunity to continue enriching the education of these children and providing the psychosocial support they so desperately need. Many of these children are Syrian refugees who have witnessed unimaginable atrocities, the loss of loved ones, displacement, and other traumatic experiences. Through this collaboration, we hope to help these children overcome their trauma and empower them with fair and equal access to education. With the support of the U.S. Department of State, these children will receive the nurturance they need to improve their overall wellbeing and contribute positively to our global society. Children are our future – they are our hope for a better tomorrow. We are very pleased to be a part of this transformational journey which will help them heal as they grow into adolescence and adulthood.”
Tag us #uossmusa
UOSSM USA IS A FEDERALLY TAX-EXEMPT NON-PROFIT 501(C)(3) CHARITABLE HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION. TAX ID 47-3403988