January 12th, 2022 ― Doha: With support from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) is pursuing the operational phase of the second half of a project to support life-saving therapeutic and preventive nutrition services continues in northwestern Syria.
The project serves over 100,000 direct beneficiaries in 29 villages and camps of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the northern parts of the country, including 53,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women and 58,000 male and female children.
The first half of the implementation phase has already been completed, including the recruitment and training of medical personnel under eight rapid response teams. Each team consists of one midwife, one nurse, one malnutrition therapist, two community health workers, and one data entry.
The project’s activities were initiated in coordination with the local authorities and humanitarian agencies working in the targeted areas, which include 24 IDP camps in northwestern Syria.
It aims at saving lives and reducing vulnerability, mortality, and morbidity rates among young children and pregnant and breastfeeding women in northern Syria, including IDPs and the overburdened host communities.
First, a community survey is conducted to identify malnutrition and moderate/severe acute malnutrition cases. Then, micronutrients and preventive nutritional supplements are provided, and the identified cases are referred to specialized centers for treatment.
In addition, there are health education activities about infant/child nutrition in emergencies, COVID-19, and other essential health-related topics. Using interactive and engaging awareness-raising techniques, this helps to better disseminate healthy and proper nutritional behaviors long after the end of the pandemic, thus ensuring sustainability.
Nutrition services were activated within the tasks of mobile rapid response teams consisting of 44 health professionals, to expand the scope of coverage and deliver services to the most affected populations in underserved remote areas.
In light of the COVID-19 situation, adjustments were made to nutrition programs, in order minimize infection risks, while ensuring the continuity of life-saving nutrition services.
For Coronavirus control purposes, all preventive measures approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) are taken during the implementation of the project. Structural changes were made to the mechanism of implementation to prevent the spread of the virus and raise awareness about the pandemic in the most vulnerable areas, such as IDP camps.