UNICEF provides health and nutrition to children and mothers in rural Hama

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Essential services continue despite COVID-19 restrictions

Rasha Al-Sabbagh

Hama, Syria, 31 August 2020 - Access of children and families to essential health care, already hindered by years of conflict in Syria, has been further impacted by economic hardship and the recent spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), further compounding people’s needs.

In Suran, northern rural Hama, UNICEF has been reaching children and mothers with health and nutrition services despite COVID-19 challenges.

“This is a critical time for health workers to take the lead. It’s the time for us to fulfil our mission to protect, treat and raise the awareness of people,” says Ahmad Khattab, 48, a health worker and one of the 10-member medical team at the UNICEF-supported clinic in Suran, established in 2018 following respite in violence in rural Hama.

To keep children and caregivers safe during the visits, clinic staff wear personal protective equipment, ensure all equipment and the premises are sanitized before and after the visits and encourage physical distancing between people while serving them.

In 2020, thanks to a generous funding from Japan, UNICEF through its clinic in Suran, has reached 51,000 children under the age of 15 with immunization, consultations and medicines. It also reached 1,800 pregnant and lactating women with consultations and much needed medicines.

More than 1,700 children under five years and 400 pregnant and lactating women were screened for acute malnutrition and referred to treatment as needed. To support and raise their awareness, over 250 pregnant and lactating women were reached with guidance on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) best practices and 200 children and caregivers were provided with mine-risk education.