As-Suwayda… voluntary team to confront Coronavirus

The "As-Suwayda Voluntary Team Against the Coronavirus Spread" while distributing face masks in the Directorate of Irrigation in As-Suwayda - 22 August 2020 (the team's Facebook page)

The "As-Suwayda Voluntary Team Against the Coronavirus Spread" while distributing face masks in the Directorate of Irrigation in As-Suwayda - 22 August 2020 (the team's Facebook page)

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As-Suwayda – Rayan al-Atrash

The family members of one patient infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic found out that reaching out to a volunteer team and asking its members for a pulse oximeter device for their patient, is a better option as it saves time and shortens the routine of government hospitals.

The members of the volunteer team arrived on 23 August at 11 p.m. They met the patient, provided him the oximeter device free of charge, and continued to follow up his case, according to what Anas Azzam, a relative of the patient, said to Enab Baladi.

A team of young people

On 25 July, a group of young men and women created a group on “WhatsApp” and “Facebook,” called the “As-Suwayda Voluntary Team Against “COVID-19” Pandemic.” The number of the team’s active volunteer members reached 25 persons until the date of 29 August.

According to the team’s founder, Wael Hamsho, the team is not linked to any side, as it delivers its work under humanitarian motives, and the materials it provides are from donations. Hamsho pointed out that one of the team members donated his coffee shop to host the team’s meetings.

The team includes pharmacists, nurses, and nutrition specialists, and is ready to assist throughout the day, although the requirements are greater than the available capabilities, according to Hamsho.

Hamsho added that the team’s assistance can be requested by calling the numbers posted in its Facebook group or directly contacting one of the team’s supervisors.

Two thousand face masks

According to Yara al-Jabaei, one of the team members, the team has distributed about 2,000 free face masks sold at 250 Syrian pounds (SYP = 0.114 USD) since the beginning of its activity.

The distribution work, celebrated by the teaching staff, included the Second Collage of Education in As-Suwayda and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, as well as other places in the province.

The team also participated in the organization of the “International Youth Day” marathon, which began last week in As-Suwayda, as they took the task of maintaining social distancing among the contestants.

Other tasks included establishing two centers for sterilizing against the virus in the marathon course, distributing free protective masks to contestants, and providing treatment to several people infected with the coronavirus.

Challenges faced by the team

The team faces many challenges and difficulties during the implementation of their tasks, most important of which is the poor capabilities since most of the province residents are unable to make voluntary contributions because of their general economic situation, especially since the number of contributors is still small considering that the team is newly established.

According to Hamsho, other difficulties include the team’s need for protective medical clothing against the COVID-19 pandemic because of its high cost, which exceeds more than 20,000 (SYP = 12 USD).

In the meantime, the team aims to establish a main center for emergencies and hopes after the end of the pandemic that it will continue to provide medical services to the needy.

This comes as the number of coronavirus infection cases increased, according to the statistics of the Syrian regime government’s Ministry of Health, as the number of coronavirus patients reached 2,563, more than 100 of which are in As-Suwayda.

As-Suwayda province, along with several Syrian regions, witnessed people waiting in long queues in bread distribution centers and some other governmental institutions, despite health warnings on the virus’s spread.

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