Qatar Charity sets up 14 COVID-19 community-based isolation centers in northern Syria

Qatar Charity (QC) has started to establish 14 community-based isolation centers in northern Syria, in cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to benefit 2,800 people of camps at a total cost of US$1.6 million.The initiative came as part of the urgent response to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), aiming at protecting the internally displaced Syrians living in camps from the virus. OCHA contributed to the project with a value of US$ 830,000, while Qatar Charity will equip these medical and non-medical units with a value of US$770,000. The community-based isolation centers, which are expected to be completely built at the beginning of next September, will provide an appropriate place to isolate COVID-19 suspicious and confirmed mild cases to prevent the spread of the epidemic in poor, especially densely crowded communities living in camps and displacement areas.The project aims to provide life-saving and sustainable health services for all male and female members of all age groups, focusing on people with special needs from the internally displaced and host communities in 14 sub-districts of the Idlib Governorate, by establishing and supporting community-based isolation units that will provide a place for collecting samples, detecting suspicious cases, and quarantining and monitoring confirmed mild cases. This project works in coordination with other health NGOs responsible for activities (such as training health workers, health screening, observing, and following up) to form a coherent system that will efficiently contain the coronavirus from spreading and intensifying.Qatar Charity will construct and handover these isolation units to the responsible local health authorities of the region to operate them directly or through other partners. Qatar Charity will also follow up the workflow of the isolation units after their establishment to ensure an efficient and effective workflow process.Mr. Muhammad Wahi, director of Qatar Charity’s office in Turkey, said this project came in response to the coronavirus pandemic in northern Syria, in coordination and cooperation with the relevant UN agencies represented by OCHA and the World Health Organization (WHO). He also noted that this project reflects the advanced position of Qatar Charity in the humanitarian system that frames efforts to respond to the humanitarian crisis in northern Syria, as Qatar Charity was one of the first organizations that were invited by WHO to be an active member of the COVID-19 taskforce in the fight against coronavirus in northern Syria.The establishment of community isolation centers is absolutely necessary in northwestern Syria and at the top of the recommendations approved by the COVID-19 taskforce on medical interventions in northwestern Syria led by WHO, which has identified the eight key points as items for intervention within the plan. These points include coordination, planning, monitoring, awareness-raising activities, and community involvement, distribution of hygiene kits, observing, contracts tracing, infection prevention and control, and training health personnel.The isolation unit consists of six large tents. Each large tent represents a wing for receiving patients for different purposes, and serves a pre-designed influx of patients to ensure the isolation of suspicious and confirmed mild cases and provide them with treatment. Qatar Charity is one of the first organizations that will provide this distinguished service, which comes to complement the efforts made previously to provide 72 isolation tents for various health facilities in northern Syrian, in addition to providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for all areas of Aleppo, Afrin and Idlib countryside.