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

Lebanon: We support Multi Aid Programs (MAPS) in Lebanon to protect refugees against COVID-19 in 9 informal tented settlements with poor access to water and sanitation in Bekaa Valley. Over 25% of Lebanon’s population are refugees, the highest per capita rate in the world. Earning as little as $49 per month, Syrians rely heavily on MAPS health centers for subsidized care. During community outreach, 4,167 Syrian refugees have received hygiene packages, COVID-19 information sessions, and screening for fever. Medical examinations have been conducted when needed. MAPS health centers have been equipped with local personal protective equipment for 64 frontline staff and surgical masks and education for patients. This project has served refugees near MAPS non-formal primary schools. RPI supports these schools with the generosity of American Securities and Dining for Women (Data: UN).

Syria: We support the Sustainable International Medical Relief Organization (SIMRO) to improve COVID-19 infection prevention and control at the Internal Medicine Specialty Hospital in Idlib. COVID-19 has been detected in Idlib and risks rapid transmission in northwest Syria. 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 support SIMRO to set up, equip, and staff medical screening operations at this 70-bed hospital. Thanks to this project, nurses have screened 98,000 persons for potential COVID-19 symptoms. The WHO and MSF Spain support Turkey-based SIMRO with other IPC efforts at this hospital, which has an isolation ward and a limited number of ventilators.

Turkey: Under a co-designed self-reliance project, we have supported 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 has distributed free soap and COVID-19 information in Arabic to 5,261 refugees in Antakya near the border with Syria. Soap was produced by Syrian women participating in livelihoods training. Trainees were screened for symptoms, observed social distancing, and received local face masks, gloves, emergency stipends, reusable soap production kits and marketing support. NEID’s Giving Circle for Refugees has generously supported this project (Data: UN Women, Doctors without Borders, JHU).

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