(Al-Bireh – 13/9/2020): In cooperation with the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the Danish Red Cross and the Spanish Red Cross, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) launched the ‘Response and Preparedness to the COVID-19 Crisis in Palestine’ project. The activities aim at controlling the spread of the virus, curbing its direct and indirect effects, reducing COVID-19 mortality and enhancing the safety, mental health and social wellbeing of disadvantaged groups.
The project focuses on Emergency Medical Services, Primary Health Care (PHC), Community Information and Awareness, Community Action, Psychosocial Support, the social stigma associated with COVID-19, and dispelling rumors about the disease. Personal Protective Equipment and a state-of-the-art ambulance with separation between the driver and the patient’s cabin will be purchased with the funds. PHC clinics throughout the West Bank will receive support, medicine, medical supplies and equipment to reduce the pressure on public health systems. The project will promote the Society’s Community Awareness campaigns via videos and spots on its website and social media accounts as well as through its branches in Palestine and the diaspora. Key messages about the virus and its prevention, the need to respect the rules of quarantine and the provision of mental support to the population will be disseminated.
PRCS President Dr. Younis Al Khatib expressed his appreciation to the programme partners: “The programme will contribute to the PRCS efforts in responding to the urgent needs in the targeted communities that emerged because of COVID-19, and PRCS will invest more in the communities’ knowledge and capacities to ensure -curb the spread of the virus."
According to Randa Bani Odeh, Head of PRCS Projects department, “the project is in line with the Society’s objectives, mainly in terms of providing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and enhancing community awareness with a view to building resilience and quality response in emergencies and to the COVID-19 pandemic in particular”.
Speaking on behalf of the Danish and the Spanish Red Cross Societies, Alfredo Melgarejo, Country Coordinator for the Danish Red Cross, said: “We are delighted with this partnership with EU Humanitarian Aid supporting PRCS’s Emergency Response Plan. This commitment confirms the confidence of the international partners in the capacity and reliability of PRCS as a leading humanitarian actor in the Palestinian context in general, and particularly in the current situation, where the PRCS EMS system, the health facilities, and the highly engaged community and psychosocial field teams form a crucial factor in the national response to the ongoing COVID-19-pandemic.”
“More than ever, the EU is committed to helping vulnerable Palestinians who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The corona virus has had a devastating impact on the health of especially vulnerable populations in an already fragile setting. This EU funding will ensure the continuity of much needed humanitarian support to communities in the West Bank and help the vulnerable population keep their families safe,” said Michelle Čičić, head of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) in Palestine.
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