QRCS expands lifesaving preventive, therapeutic nutrition services in northwestern Syria [EN/AR]

News and Press Release
Originally published


April 27th, 2021 ― Doha: The representation office of Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) in Turkey is implementing a project to provide lifesaving preventive and therapeutic nutrition in northern Syria.

Done in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the project serves up to 115,000 population in the target areas.

It commenced in February and is planned to last till December 2021. Its purpose is to save lives and reduce morbidity and mortality rates among young children and pregnant/breastfeeding women from the most vulnerable communities in the underserved northwestern parts of the country.

Under the project, emergency nutrition programs are implemented for infants and younger children, and the detected cases of malnutrition are treated at outpatient clinics. There are six mobile quick response teams and 12 health workers deployed to expand the coverage of lifesaving preventive and therapeutic nutrition services to reach out to remote areas that normally have no access to medical services.

Nutrition programs are adjusted to match the requirements of the COVID-19 situation, in order to minimize infection risks and ensure continued lifesaving nutrition services.

To that end, the project’s mechanism involves making preventive and therapeutic nutrition services available at 15 locations in the northwestern governorates of Syria, which host 24 internally displaced people (IDP) camps with around 115,000 direct beneficiaries.

Malnutrition screening will be conducted among 22,000 pregnant/breastfeeding women, as well as 40,000 girls and boys, who will then receive micronutrients and dietary supplements.

Moreover, the teams will offer public health education on emergency nutrition for infants, COVID-19, and other health-related topics. Lastly, 350 children and women will receive treatment for moderate and severe acute malnutrition.

Among the impacts of the project are (1) enhancing vital maternity nutrition services for pregnant/breastfeeding women and babies; (2) improving fair access to therapeutic nutrition services by regular and timely identification, follow-up, and treatment of acute malnutrition cases among pregnant/breastfeeding women and under-5 children; and (3) providing preventive and therapeutic nutrition services through qualified and well-trained personnel for the most vulnerable groups in remote and underserved areas.

According to the needs assessment reports issued by UN agencies, the project’s target age and community groups are the worst hit by the difficult and prolonged humanitarian situation in northern Syria.

Due to the lack of a stable health system in many areas, and the inability of the existing health system to provide nutrition and other health services, there was a dire need for such a project to avoid deaths and alleviate the suffering of those groups and the host communities in general.

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About Qatar Red Crescent (QRCS)

Established in 1978, Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) is a humanitarian volunteering organization that aims to assist and empower vulnerable individuals and communities without partiality or discrimination.

QRCS is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which consists of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and 191 National Societies. QRCS is also a member of several GCC, Arab, and Islamic organizations, such as the Islamic Committee of International Crescent and the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization (ARCO). In this legally recognized capacity, QRCS has access to disaster and conflict zones, thus serving as an auxiliary to the State of Qatar in its humanitarian efforts — a role that distinguishes it from other local charities and NGOs.

QRCS operates both locally and internationally and has ongoing international relief and development projects in a number of countries throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe. QRCS's humanitarian actions include providing support in disaster preparedness, disaster response, risk reduction, and disaster recovery. To mitigate the impact of disasters and improve the livelihoods of affected populations, QRCS provides medical services, healthcare, and social development to local communities. It is also active at the humanitarian advocacy front. With the help of a vast network of trained, committed staff and volunteers, QRCS aspires to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity.

QRCS works under the umbrella of the seven international humanitarian principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.