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:
- Infection prevention and control (IPC) means to healthcare centers
- Cholera kits and activating oral rehydration points in each healthcare facility, to provide oral rehydration solution for patients to prevent dehydration, and to prevent escalation to severe illness.
- Community wide awareness campaigns via community health workers (CHWs) – with awareness messages about Cholera and prevention methods – created by the health cluster.
- Community health worker (CHWs) training for the referral of suspected cases to healthcare centers in order to receive appropriate care in a timely manner.
- Capacity-building for Trainers of Trainers (ToT) for health care workers
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.
Together, we are saving lives and building hope.
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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
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