Nutrition services

QRCS and OCHA support life-saving therapeutic and preventive nutrition services in northwestern Syria [EN/AR] – Syrian Arab Republic

12 January 2022 ― Doha: With the support of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) continues the operational phase of the second half of a project aimed at supporting treatment and preventive nutrition services continue in northwestern Syria.
The project serves more than 100,000 direct beneficiaries in 29 villages and camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the north of the country, including 53,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women and 58,000 male and female children.

The first half of the implementation phase has already been completed, including the recruitment and training of medical staff in eight rapid response teams. Each team is made up of a midwife, a nurse, a malnutrition therapist, two community health workers and a data entry person.

Project activities were launched in coordination with local authorities and humanitarian agencies working in the targeted areas, which include 24 IDP camps in northwestern Syria.

It aims to save lives and reduce vulnerability, mortality and morbidity rates among young children and pregnant and lactating women in northern Syria, including displaced people and overstretched host communities.
First, a community survey is conducted to identify cases of malnutrition and moderate/severe acute malnutrition. Then, micronutrients and preventive nutritional supplements are provided, and identified cases are referred to specialized centers for treatment.

In addition, there are health education activities on infant/child nutrition in emergencies, COVID-19 and other essential health-related topics. By using interactive and engaging outreach techniques, this helps to better spread healthy and appropriate nutritional behaviors long after the pandemic is over, thus ensuring sustainability.

Nutrition services were activated as part of the tasks of mobile rapid response teams composed of 44 health professionals, to expand the reach of coverage and provide services to the most affected populations in remote, underserved areas.

In light of the COVID-19 situation, adjustments have been made to nutrition programs, to minimize the risk of infection, while ensuring the continuity of life-saving nutrition services.

For the purpose of combating the coronavirus, all preventive measures approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) are taken during the implementation of the project. Structural changes have been made to the implementation mechanism to prevent the spread of the virus and raise awareness of the pandemic in the most vulnerable areas, such as IDP camps.