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QRCS, OCHA support life-saving therapeutic nutrition in Syria
With funding from United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has commenced the execution phase of a project to support life-saving therapeutic and preventive nutrition services in Syria. In the preliminary phase, the staff were hired and trained, and the target centers were rehabilitated. The project is coordinated with the local authorities and humanitarian organizations operating in the target areas. A total of 127,000 persons will benefit from this project, which covers 15 towns and 24 camps of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northwestern Syria. Those include 16,000 pregnant women and 27,000 young girls and boys. The purpose of the project is to save lives and reduce health problems and mortality rates among young children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers from the most vulnerable groups in the northern part of the country, whether the IDPs or host communities. It involves screening for mild, moderate, and severe malnutrition, providing micronutrients and nutritional supplements, referring the cases to specialized centers for treatment, and promoting public awareness about feeding newborns and young kids in emergency and other related topics. To offer nutritional services, there will be seven centers and two rapid response teams comprising 34 health workers. This will ensure a broader outreach to the most affected populations of remote and priority areas. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, some adjustments were made to the nutritional programmes to minimize the risks of infection while ensuring continuous provision of life-saving nutritional services. As regards health education, interactive and participatory informative techniques are employed in the project, to make it more likely for the target communities to adopt good health and dietary behaviors for a longer time after the completion of the project. All the preventive measures approved by World Health Organization (WHO) are strictly applied. Structural changes were made to the mechanism of community activities for better protection against COVID-19, with a special focus on the communities most prone to the pandemic, such as IDP camps.