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QRCS enhances Coronavirus control capacity at northern Syrian hospitals
The representation mission of Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) in Turkey has taken a set of measures to be ready in case of a Coronavirus outbreak in northern Syria. A joint operations room was set up comprising QRCS; the Health Departments of Idlib and Aleppo; the Health Departments of Hatay, Gaziantep, and Kilis; and other humanitarian organizations operating in the northern governorates. Under the supervision of the World Health Organization (WHO), another technical working group was created to coordinate among these organizations. The Health Programs Section at QRCS’s mission holds day-to-day meetings to develop a preparedness and response plan for any potential outbreak. Preventive and administrative precautions are implemented at the health facilities and multiple health services managed or supported by QRCS, including mental health and community health. Arrangements are being taken to provide training for the field administrative and medical workers in how to deal with infections. Three trainers were hired by QRCS, and a guideline was adopted in relation to basic preventive measures and virus control al health facilities. At the same time, the mission is part of the WHO-supervised working groups, including: Technical COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Technical Group, Community Health Group, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Group, Child Protection Group, and Advocacy and Medical Staff Protection Group. Training courses were held for the medical personnel at six primary health care centers and the Al-Bab Hospital to educate them on how to identify and deal with infections as per the WHO recommendations, under the standard precautions of handwashing and use of personal protection equipment (PPE). The centers and hospital are currently provided with basic supplies (masks, gloves, sanitizers, and disinfectants) to protect the medical and medical staff and the patients. They were totally disinfected and linked by the epidemic referral and monitoring system with the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) and Health Departments, via the WHO-approved Early Warning, Alert, and Response Network (EWARN). Tents were installed to separate cases and isolate the suspicious ones. The visitors are first checked and then allowed into the centers at intervals. All group activities that require physical attendance were halted, such as awareness sessions. Minor cases are followed up via WhatsApp, and only the major cases are received at the clinics, with all preventive measures taken. Protective supplies and sanitizers were provided for community health workers, centers, and mobile clinics. Training was conducted for the personnel to control infection and observe preventive standards while making public awareness field and home visits. Where needed, food baskets and hygiene kits are distributed to families. Weekly staff meetings are divided into small groups or convened online. The Child-Friendly Centers stopped the reception of children and all other group activities. The parents are contacted via WhatsApp to tell them how to protect their kids against Coronavirus risks. Later, advising will be given on the techniques of managing the negative psychological impact such as fear, anxiety, and stigma.