SRD’s Emergency Response to the COVID-19 Crisis in Northwest Syria

As corona virus spreads quickly around the world, the risks in northwest Syria are exponential, as millions have been displaced to date and living conditions render men, women, and children defenseless to the disease. Syria Relief & Development (SRD) is proud to serve as a member of the WHO Emergency Response Taskforce alongside 10 other humanitarian organizations, as we apply infection control procedures and raise social awareness about the virus’s dangers throughout northwest Syria.

Syria, already suffering from nine years of war, has recorded three COVID-19 deaths and three recoveries from a total of 19 recorded cases. Fear has spread across the country due to the infectious nature of the disease and the overcrowded living conditions many Syrians face after being displaced from their homes. Testing in war-torn areas is challenging, and the SRD team has worked to prevent the spread among these vulnerable communities.

As the co-lead for the Infection, Prevention, and Control (IPC) Technical Working Group, SRD has provided COVID IPC training and triage training for 540 medical workers and 180 health facilities in northwest Syria.

Our medical centers’ staff in Syria have been educating communities and aid workers  on infection control, such as personal hygiene and disinfection. Distribution of awareness brochures and placement of educational posters in all medical facilities are some of the ways SRD is educating the public on the epidemic.

Given the uncertainty of this time, the health and well-being of our staff is extremely important to us. Staff are required to wear masks and gloves and will keep a safe distance from patients during the rehabilitation process. Only individual and peer to peer activities will continue. If necessary, case management activities will continue with precautionary measures. For those who have access to social media platforms, online counseling will continue in place of face-to-face sessions. To prevent crowding in clinics, appointments will be spaced to avoid overlap along with providing patients with much needed medicine.

COVID triage tents are placed in all SRD health facilities as a precautionary measure against transmission. Measures will also be taken to prevent congestion at distribution points — there will no longer be lines to wait in and beneficiaries will be invited by WhatsApp to receive kits in person. All suspected cases will be referred to COVID Taskforce-approved health facilities that are properly equipped for the situation.

SRD continues to provide humanitarian support to those who are most vulnerable in Syria. In these coming months, we appreciate your continued support and commitment to help us respond to corona virus in one of the most vulnerable parts of the world.

SRD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing humanitarian aid to Syrians affected by violence, hunger, poverty, injury and displacement. The volatile situation in Syria has created a dire need for food, shelter and medical care. SRD is working to address these needs through our established programs within Syria and in surrounding regions.

As of January 1, 2020, SRD has delivered over $90.64 million in aid to over 11 million beneficiaries. With over 1,000 staff members on the ground in Syria, our brave aid workers have delivered humanitarian care amid conflict and continuous attacks.