by | Oct 24, 2020 | STEP-IN BLOG | 0 comments

On September 30th we completed the latest of our projects funded by #PolishAid. With their support, we delivered comprehensive healthcare services to thousands of displaced Iraqis and distributed reusable face masks to both a whole camp and a small town.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland funded our activities from April through to the end of September 2020. Throughout this critical time the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading rapidly. The health of people living in crowded camps was at the center of humanitarian attention, especially as infectious diseases can spread quickly in crowded camp conditions. It is therefore crucial to have operational healthcare services on site for both for early detection and the effective management of suspected cases.
Our medical team at Dawoodia camp worked uninterrupted throughout these months. A single exception occurred when our pharmacist was diagnosed with COVID-19. The whole team immediately went into quarantine for two weeks but were able to return back to work afterwards. Despite a significant number of suspected cases being sent for testing, there were no other cases detected, neither amongst our staff nor camp residents. We attribute this to the care and strict protocols followed by our team. We continued to protect ourselves and the patients by thoroughly following all possible preventive measures such as personal protection for both the clinic’s personnel and entering patients, intense hand hygiene,  strict physical distancing where possible, and continuous ventilation in all the rooms.
We were able to make mask wearing in the clinic compulsory for all, thanks to the fact that we’d provided the whole population of the camp with quality washable face masks early-on. The masks were produced in four different sizes, out of dense, quality cotton fabric. They were double-layered for extra protection but still easy to breath through and came in a variety of colourful patterns. To produce the masks we employed over 30 seamstresses. Providing this income opportunity to displaced women was yet another way this project supported families and communities through a difficult time. During our distribution of the 20,000 masks, which took place not only in Dawoodia camp but also in Sharia town, our teams provided families with educational advice on COVID-19 prevention, symptoms and best practices in case of infection.
Finally, we did not forget about our chronically ill patients in Sharia, usually served by our mobile clinic. Though mobile clinics were grounded by the government at the start of the pandemic, our health workers reached out to our patients one by one and delivered the drugs essential for their survival on foot, whilst maintaining physical distancing. This prevented our patients from gathering together and ensure that no-one went without. The proper management of preexisting chronic diseases reinforces the stability of a healthy condition, an important factor determining the severity of illness caused by coronavirus infection.

Thank You Polish Aid!


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