Coronavirus Response

Overview of Refugee-led COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Projects with Syrian Refugees and IDPs in the Middle East

Facilitated by RPI and implemented on-site by our refugee-led partners Sustainable International Medical Relief Organization, Multi Aid Programs, and Kids Paradise

Giving Partner(s): Inspiring donors who continue to give during a pandemic affecting us all

Syria: We are supporting SIMRO, a Turkey-based nonprofit led by Syrian doctors, to improve COVID-19 infection prevention and control at a specialized internal medicine hospital geared toward the elderly in war-torn Idlib. COVID-19 is present in Syria and risks rapid transmission once it takes hold in the northwest. After 9 years of civil war, half of health facilities are non-operational and the conditions for hand washing are dismal in tented camps and informal settlements. Project funds are supporting SIMRO to set up, equip, and operate 3 medical screening tents over a 4-month period outside this 70-bed hospital. Nurses will screen up to 8,700 patients per month for potential COVID-19 symptoms before they enter the hospital to access health care. The WHO and MSF Spain are supporting SIMRO with other IPC efforts at this hospital, which has an isolation ward and a limited number of ventilators. Together, we can effect life-saving change.

Lebanon: We are supporting MAPS, our Syrian-led partner in Lebanon, to protect refugees against COVID-19 in 9 informal tented settlements with poor access to water and sanitation in Bekaa Valley. Refugees amount to over 25% of Lebanon’s population, the highest per capita rate in the world. Earning as little as $49 per month in some areas, Syrian refugees rely heavily on MAPS health centers for subsidized care. In this project, frontline health workers are being equipped with select PPE procured regionally. This project is also funding MAPS to medically screen elderly and chronically ill Syrian refugees in the community, refer them for testing or continued monitoring, and distribute hygiene packages and awareness information to up to 4,000 refugees living near MAPS non-formal primary schools. RPI supports these schools with the generosity of American Securities and Dining for Women (Data: UN).

Turkey: Under a co-designed self-reliance project, we are supporting Kids Paradise to improve refugee access to hygiene items, COVID-19 information, and livelihoods. Turkey has one of the highest numbers of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the world and is host to the most refugees globally, including 3.6 million Syrians. Even before the pandemic, 32% of Syrians could not afford basic hygiene items. The most vulnerable refugees earn just $160 per month and live in substandard conditions, increasing their risk of infection. This project is distributing free soap and COVID-19 information in Arabic to up to 5,000 refugees in Antakya and Reyhanli on the border with Syria. Soap is produced by Syrian women participating in livelihoods training. Trainees are screened for COVID-19 symptoms, observe social distancing, and receive local face masks, gloves, emergency stipends, reusable soap production kits and marketing. NEID’s Giving Circle for Refugees has generously supported this project (Data: UN Women, Doctors without Borders, JHU).

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