April 25, 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic Leaves Greater Risks For Syrian Refugees

A place so traumatized by violence is now terrified of a virus in Northern Syria after 10 years of war and humanitarian catastrophe. Medics are doing all they can to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19. Masks are being handed out, parents are trying to protect their children but everyone seems to know it’s not nearly enough. They have very little equipment and supplies, and that means greater risks for an already vulnerable population.

Volunteers are teaching refugee children about the importance of proper hygiene. Anxiety in one of the largest settlement refugees in the world is on the rise. Warnings from aid agencies are stark.

Imagine then what it would cause in densely crowded refugee camps. Community centers filled with civilians in a war zone displaced people fleeing to informal settlements in places where there is little or no water, no washing facilities, little hygiene and no healthcare. They are scrambling to find enough medical staff to deal with the surges of patients. There is no doctor to call and there is no place for isolation if these people were asked to isolate themselves.

Due to severe travel disruption around the world, travel arrangements for resettling refugees are being temporarily suspended. SEMA is committed to working very closely within Syria to ensure that movements can still continue especially for the most critical cases wherever that’s possible. We began to hand out “hygiene bags”, which contain cleaning and hygiene products. We facilitated distribution of disinfectant and cleaning materials, installation of screening triage areas, and provision of diagnosis kits. Yet a lot more effort is needed.

As panic over the pandemic spreads around the world, we are very concerned about the virus spreading to vulnerable groups such as refugees and other people in overcrowded living conditions with limited access to health care and are always just trying to survive. People long accustomed to uncertainty for whom life has suddenly become an even greater challenge.

Time is running out to protect refugees from this coronavirus crisis. Now, more than ever, is the best time to get involved. Donate now.

March 19, 2020

SEMA started a project for safe emergency neonatal transportation

SEMA in collaboration with the WHO and Idlib health directorate just started a new and novel program for safe emergency neonatal transportation. We observed many cases of neonatal death and complications during emergency transportation. After conducting a root cause analysis we determined some defects in the ongoing healthcare system. We determined factors related to the lake of education, skills and neonatal equipment.

Therefore, we built up this comprehensive program “SENT”, which aim to:
1. Prepare ambulances equipped with specialized neonatal ventilator, bags, incubator, and other resuscitation equipment,
2. Offer a 3-month course of lectures and hands-on workshops for a group of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team.

We are starting this project as a pilot, and we will be collecting data to test the outcomes and impact. This data will be used for further developing the program and future publications.

January 15, 2020

SEMA US recently established this new mobile clinic in NW Syria

SEMA US recently established this new mobile clinic as part of our response to the massive displacement that is happening in NW Syria due to the ongoing military violence.

We established this new mobile clinic in #Afrin countryside, where there are thousands of people newly displaced over the last three weeks. Every day the clinic go to a different place where the displaced people camps are.

The clinic has a general practitioner and distribute medications. It also provides nutritional assessment and supply for children.

December 15, 2019

SEMA opened a new center for prosthetics in Al-Bab city in Aleppo

SEMA opened a new center for prosthetics to bring hope and mobility for those who have an amputated limb due to the devastating war in Syria. You cannot imagine how important this is to these vulnerable people! These prosthetics mean a new life to many: it means they can walk, they can work, and they can become independent. It means less chronic pain and psychological consequences. It basically means HOPE.

This center is part of the National Syrian Project for Prosthetic Limbs (NSPPL), a project that was started in 2013, and SEMA was one of the founders and has continued to be a major supporter of the work. This center will focus on rehabilitation and application of artificial limbs to relieve some of the burdens of affected refugee and displaced people. Now, the NSPPL has three centers in Rihaniyya – Turkey, Idlib and Al-Bab – Syria. Since its opening it has provided more than 7000 prosthetics and trained more than 20 trainees, more than half of them have Certificates recognized by international bodies for the manufacture of prosthetics.

Dr. Yasser Al-Tabba, SEMA International board of directors, and one of the founders of the NSPPL, offered at the opening, “This effort to help others is necessary and very important for the wellbeing of everyone, especially the weak. We are happy when we see patients using these limbs and improving their daily lives with them, and when we see the prosthetic project, it no longer depends on individual people but has become an institution without limit, building up not only artificial limbs, but people, not only people but communities. We are happy to revive this service to help alleviate suffering in our society.”

November 26, 2019

SEMA US completed the first accredited Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO)

We just completed our first accredited Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO), for a group of Syrian physicians, in Gaziantep – Turkey.

The (ALSO®) is an evidence-based, inter-professional, and multidisciplinary training program that equips the maternity care team with skills to effectively manage obstetric emergencies. The course was developed and is maintained by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

This course is part of an initiative to build capacity and train medical professionals inside Syria. The course was led by Dr. Shahla Namak, an associate professor of family medicine and obstetrics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We thank Dr Namak for her passion and generosity.

We will have similar courses in the near future. Stay tuned for more ALSO courses. We are working towards graduating a team of licensed instructors to continue teaching the courses inside Syria.

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