Water, sanitation and hygiene, known as WASH in the world of humanitarian relief, has been a priority in Mercy-USA’s work since its beginning. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this outreach more urgent and currently our offices worldwide are ramping up response in an effort to protect the vulnerable populations we serve. This response begins with our own field teams as they practice social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing their work places.
Protecting already health compromised refugees, internally displaced persons and the needy—all for whom everyday sanitation, access to clean water, and the ability to practice social distancing may be virtually impossible—our teams are doing everything they can to mitigate the spread of the disease through numerous measures such as awareness campaigns, hygiene promotion and various efforts determined by need.
Our current response includes the following:
- COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Center in Somalia to isolate and treat infected patients and prevent the spread of the virus to vulnerable populations.
Protecting our field staff and front-line health workers so that they are able to continue to deliver vital relief and healthcare to vulnerable families as well as preventing the spread of the virus
Providing pamphlets and posters translated into the local language that explain how the COVID-19 virus is spread and how families can protect themselves and their neighbors.
Providing hand washing stations at Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and at our health facilities in Somalia and Syria
Providing hand washing stations at busy markets in Somalia
Distribution of hygiene items to vulnerable communities in Somalia and Syria
Checking for fever at food distribution points and enforcing physical distance between beneficiaries
Screening tent for COVID-19 symptoms in front of our stationary health clinic in Idlib province, Syria
- Mobile Medical Unit in Wadi Khalid, Lebanon that, in addition to regular primary health services, screens for symptoms of COVID-19
- Providing new medical equipment to the government hospital in Tripoli, Lebanon
- Bottled water distribution to vulnerable families in Detroit, MI whose running water is not safe to drink
- Food basket distributions in Hawthorne, CA and Detroit, MI and grocery store gift card distribution in Baltimore, MD to needy families impacted by COVID-19
It’s an ALL HANDS ON DECK moment for our supporters. We need your help to keep up with the fight against COVID-19.
UPDATE: Covid-19 Cases Confirmed in North Western Syria
In July, the first cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Idlib province, Syria. People in north western Syria, especially the millions who have been made homeless from the war, are extremely vulnerable to this deadly virus due to the inadequate healthcare system that has been almost destroyed by 9 years of war.
Mercy-USA for Aid and Development has been providing screening at our stationary health clinic plus we offer hand-washing stations, and Covid-19 screenings including temperature checks at our contactless food basket distribution since March, 2020, hoping to prevent the virus from entering this extremely vulnerable population.
Our Community Health Workers are stepping up education programs in the camps where we work. Recently, our teams visited a camp for widowed mothers and their children to conduct engaging and vital education for the children about how germs spread, how to prevent the spread of virus’ as well as proper hand sanitation and mask wearing. Mothers also were informed of the facts surrounding the virus and were instructed on how to keep their families and their communities safe. The mothers also learned how to stitch simple washable masks for the family. These targeted efforts are important for the safety of this vulnerable population.