04Feb2023

SCM Medical Missions

Contacts

3806 Whitman Ave N
Seattle WA 98103

info@scmmedicalmissions

+1 206-545-7307

Tag: medical aid

Syria

#Ghouta Needs Our Help Now

The situation in Ghouta is desperate. The people are living through hell with constant bombings, targeting of hospitals, blockade, homes destroyed, and streets blocked by rubble. Doctors are out of medications and often have to use very crude medical practices to treat the many wounded streaming into what is left of the hospitals.

We have heard from doctors we know there and they are using expired medications because they can’t get resupplied with new and needed medications and equipment. They are running out of food and starvation is a very real threat. We must help them now. Below is a video taken by a very brave teen, Muhammed Najem, who is chronicling the destruction of his city. At the bottom of this post there are more links to help you understand the situation in Ghouta, please take a few moments to watch the video and read some of the linked information.

Ghouta is a district to the east of Damascus. It is a rebel-held enclave and the Syrian government forces have been bombing indiscriminately for a week now. There has been little regard for the civilians who live in this region, and again the hospitals and rescue personnel have been targeted. Please donate now to help get much needed medications, gas masks, and other equipment needed to treat the wounded and protect the medical personnel in case of a gas attack, which is feared to be imminent.

 

BBC: Syria war: Ghouta pounded as UN tussles over ceasefire

CNN: Ghouta residents now face being burned out of their destroyed homes

Reuters: Syria’s eastern Ghouta bombed again before U.N. ceasefire vote

The Guardian: Ghouta’s desperate civilians say they’ve been abandoned to their fate

Time: A Syrian Medic’s Account of His City’s Siege: ‘People Don’t Celebrate Birthdays Now’

 

JordanRefugees

More medications arrive in Jordan

More medications have arrived in Jordan from Direct Relief. SCM was instrumental in coordinating this donation from Direct Relief to the Jordan Women’s Union. The first part of the donated goods were shipped via air freight due to their sensitivity. This shipment arrived via cargo container and will be distributed by the JWU to their clinics serving refugee populations.

Thank you again to Direct Relief for their continued support of SCM and our efforts to provide medical aid to the Syrian refugees.

Humanitarian AidJordanRefugees

Medicines Donated for Refugees

Contact: Rita Zawaideh
Salaam Cultural Museum
Phone 206-545-7307
3806 Whitman Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98103 Salaam Cultural Museum

Press Release

Medicines Donated for Refugees

Seattle, WA August 30, 2017: Salaam Cultural Museum (SCM) and it’s humanitarian and medical mission division, SCM Medical Missions, have successfully coordinated a large donation of medicines, valued at USD $139,000, to the Jordan Women’s Union (JWU) in Amman Jordan. The medicines were donated by Direct Relief (www.directrelief.org), which provides appropriate and specifically requested medical resources to community-based institutions and organizations such as SCM in more than 70 countries, including Jordan. SCM has been working with Direct Relief for several years to provide supplies for their medical missions and for clinics and hospitals in Jordan that serve the refugee population there.

The most recent shipment of medicines will be disbursed on Friday September 1, 2017 to the JWU, which works with refugees from Syria, Palestine and Iraq and aids low income Jordanians. They have clinics throughout Jordan:

• Near Amman at Wehdat Refugee Camp, Al-Hussein Refugee Camp, Hitten Refugee Camp
• Within Al-Balq’a Governorate, there is one operational center located in Deir Alla
• There are also several district branches throughout the country: Ajloun, Al-Balq’a Camp, Al-Fuhais, Al-Karak, Al-Khaldeya, Al-Ramtha, Al-Salt, Al-Zarqa, Amman, Irbid, Madaba

SCM is a Seattle-based non-profit (501c3) organization that is currently working to provide humanitarian and medical aid to Syrian refugees in Jordan and assistance to those now resettled in Washington State. They have an office and warehouse in Madaba, Jordan and have been conducting medical missions since 2012 to Jordan, and from 2015 to early 2017 to northern Greece.

SCM continues to work in partnership with organizations such as Direct Relief and the Jordan Women’s Union to provide the most aid to the people who need it most. Please contact SCM for more information on this project or any other SCM refugee aid program.

Photo taken by Basel Sawalha, SCM Regional Director, Madaba Jordan. Photo of medicines arriving in Amman.

Community ServiceJordanRefugees

Equipment Needs for Hospital in Jordan

SCM is providing medical and humanitarian aid to a hospital in northern Jordan that is serving Syrian refugees. We have provided blankets and warm clothing to them and they have distributed them to their patients in need. They have asked us for assistance in getting some medical supplies they are in need of and we are posting their list of needs. Some items will be purchased there but others we can send to them, so if you have access to and are able to donate any of the items to us (that would be transportable in a suitcase or can get here before our next container in a week), please let us know. Monetary donations will be used to purchase the items we can’t ship or send from here.

Since I am not a medical professional, I am attaching the request letter they sent to us so there is no risk I have misspelled something or confused something on the list.

Thank you in advance, and if you have any questions about this, please call our office in Seattle: 206-545-7307.

salaam cultural m

GreeceHumanitarian AidMedical AidRefugees

Diary Entries from Lesvos – October 10th-18th

Dear All,IMG_8388
Please see below for our daily escapades.
Best Wishes & Salaam,
Zoya

Day 1

Today we received a full handover from Hina, Sabrina, Basel, and Daoud. Hina and Sabrina informed us of their current set up which largely involved slotting into the medical tent of Waha. They used only their own supplies and it seems the medical problems continue to be simple ailments.

In the evening as we were heading towards dinner we passed Eftalu beach where suddenly in the darkness a boat of refugees landed. We helped them off the boat ensuring children and babies were taken first. Our Arabic speakers continuously welcomed everyone and relayed instructions while the rest of the medical and humanitarian volunteers assessed how wet people were and wrapped them in blankets. From the medical point of view we were largely observing our predecessors. Quick assessments and triages were carried out to rule out any injuries or serious medical problems.

Food and water were distributed. Teams to transport the refugees were alerted.

Day 2

Today was a quiet day due to the stormy weather across the island. Very few boats have come across.

The team split into two today. Two people remained behind to organise and pack our supplies, hygiene packs, and emergency blankets. Three people visited the Oxy camp today to introduce ourselves to the Waha team and camp coordinators. Due to the low footfall at the camp that day, the medical camps, food stall, and registration tents were functioning well and did not require any further help, so we helped clean up the road outside the camp.

New ImageWe picked up all the garbage from the street and sidewalk. We collected all the reusable items such as discarded blankets, clothes, shoes, and sleeping bags. We can confirm that all of these will be washed and reused as per the usual set up of Oxy camp. During this time several of the Syrian refugees, total 6 men, asked if they could help us. We gave them gloves and our team grew to 9 people. Together we were able to transform the appearance of the streets outside Oxy camp. The Greek police stopped and thanked us four times for our efforts.

As our group has now grown it is no longer feasible to keep slotting into the medical tents run by other NGOs. We have supplies and donations that can help people better. We have decided to arrange ourselves into a mobile clinic in collaboration with a group of independent Swiss volunteers. We will provide the medical expertise, medicines, and translators. They will augment our team by designing and providing us with two mobile tents that can be assembled and dismantled within 15 minutes.

Two boats arrived overnight despite the storm.

Day 3

Today we attended the local volunteer meeting at the Starfish Group headquarters by the harbour. We identified several problems with our current set up that required discussions with other coordinators.

As two of us will be remaining in Lesvos, Zoya from UK (me!), has been added as a contact with the Starfish group. This is a network of independent volunteers that is headed by foreign nationals who have been residing in Lesvos for many years. They understand the system, geography, and local politics. It is important that every SCM team come and introduce themselves to Melinda/Tracey and get added on to the whatsapp group run by them. With this you receive live updates with requests for equipment or medical assistance. IMG_8386

We have made it clear to the other NGO and other independent volunteers that we are a team of doctors available to be deployed for emergencies. Calls started coming in immediately!

The entire SCM team then scrambled to Eftalou after reports of several boats landing. We aided two boats ashore. These were not the normal black rubber boats that contain 40-50 people. They were now two tier boats with at least 70-150 passengers on board.

Our team was in the water helping the refugees disembark, taking babies and children first followed by women, luggage, and finally men.

There are often heavily pregnant women or those with newborns among the travelers. We identified a 5-day-old baby who had been discharged from the hospital just one day before having received a blood transfusion in Turkey. They were not feeding well and it was important this baby had repeat blood tests. We transported the family to the local hospital.

In the evening we sent one doctor out on an emergency call for a patient coughing up blood and stranded inland. On arrival our team found that the patient was having multiple seizures and was in fact a known epileptic who had likely lost his medication on his journey as a refugee. There was little we could do medically except keep him stable and transport him to the urgent care facility in Kaloni in our vehicle. He was nearly status epilepticus and this rapid transport was likely to be life-saving.

Day 4 – Harbour Day

Today was an extremely difficult day. Our team was asked to help out at the harbour. This is where the Greek Coast Guard brings in boats that have capsized. The refugees have been in the water sometimes for several hours. They are extremely traumatised from the fear of drowning or the death of their family members. Those brought into the harbour are given medical and humanitarian care before they are placed under arrest and taken to Mytiline directly for registration.

When we arrived, the coast guard had brought in about 17 people. They were hysterical. One man and his daughter were inconsolable. He had lost his wife and she had lost her mother. She could not have been older than 9 years old and was screaming “mama, mama.” Her name was Hiba. She fainted. A simple vasovagal syncope. Her father could not stop crying. Another man required stitching on his hand. Another on his face.

One gentlemen was extremely upset as he could not find his daughter. He had his son, but his daughter was nowhere to be seen. As they calmed down they began to tell their story: There was an accident. The Greek Coast Guard ship had hit their boat with great force. It sliced through the entire boat and many were dead on impact. There were others on the boat and every time a motor could be heard everyone waited with hope and anguish, praying that their loved ones were found and brought back to them.

In the meantime we got them out of their wet clothes and tried to feed them. Everyone was refusing food and water except for the kids.

Then it happened. The second group of people from the same boat were found and docked at the port. A mother ran down the harbour, looked at the first group of people, and began screaming and wailing. She did not stop. Her husband ran into the crowd and was searching frantically. They came with 4 children. Only one survived. “Why did they kill my children? Why?” Her name was Nadya. Nadya went between fainting and screaming constantly for the next 1.5 hrs. She would not let us dry her off. She just sat down on the harbour, soaking wet, and mourned her 3 dead children. Eventually we had to buy some diazepam from the pharmacy up the road and sedate her. It was the only way to get her calm enough to transport her. Her husband asked where the morgue was before they left.

Hiba and her father also began crying again. As the second boat unloaded it was confirmed, their mother was gone and her two siblings were found. I cradled Hiba in my arms for a long time, giving her kisses on the cheeks. When I would stop she would draw me closer to her again. Lemah and Zakia sit with Nadya in across their laps, crying with her, consoling her, and trying to get a few sips of water past her lips.

Cultural awareness is also very important. There were many European volunteers, play therapists, and psychiatrists on hand who were trying to distract the children with games. Others tried to offer Nadya a cigarette to calm her down. They were also very disturbed when they witnessed Nadya hitting her chest and head. Finally we intervened and told the European volunteers that these are normal ways of expressing grief in the Middle East and the kids are old enough to understand death. They are aware that their mothers and siblings and have just passed away in the sea. They must let the children be with their families and stop trying to get them to play right now.

It was a day that all of us cried. It was heartbreaking and it was the reason why we are here.

Day 5

First thing in the morning, we see a boat driving past our hotel heading straight for an area of the shore that is largely inaccessible by main road, so we grab our equipment and head out. We manage to park the car along a dirt track, jump a fence, and cross a field to reach them. IMG_8385

A man was immediately brought to our attention. He was disabled with extreme muscle wasting and was in severe pain. He was pale and tachycardiac. His relatives showed us some photos of him and we realised he had a large decubitus ulcer. Further examination revealed he had a colostomy and urostomy in situ which were likely sources of contamination. I imagine they had not been changed for several weeks along his journey and he was suffering from septic shock.

We used a piece of the rubber boat as a stretcher and rolled him onto that. We then carried him to the van and transported him to the main hospital in Mytiline. This transport was most definitely life-saving. Our Swisscross friends visited him in the hospital the next day and we were all so relieved to find out he was in full recovery with IV antibiotics and some TLC.

During the evening we went out to the Skala Sykamina region. Along this stretch of coast are several landing points, one large transit camp and one smaller sized transit camp. They are further away and therefore less popular with the volunteers. They are being run totally on independent volunteers and donations. They are certainly stretched for resources compared to Oxy, both material and personnel.

On this night all camps, transit and larger, were well over capacity. The night was cold and windy and there was nowhere to transport the refugees. The safest place they could be was in the nearest transit camp along the shore. The boats kept coming, one after another. Another 60 people, another 120, another 150.

The cycle was the same: Pull them out, babies first; Calm them down; Help them to the road; Dry them off; and Direct them to food and water. Tonight emphasised the value of our Arabic speakers and was very much about crowd management. Without these skills, no one would have been reassured. Without them we could not have managed the chaos.

It took about 4 hours to handle both camps, to tell the crowds not to travel, that their safest place was here. “Find a place under a tree, bundle up, and let your children sleep,” we kept repeating, “Stay off the road, don’t separate from your families.”

Stage 1 Skala transit camp was finally under control. We then headed up to the main camp and spent the rest of the evening distributing food, water, hygiene packs, diapers, and sanitary pads to the crowd.

When we left, everyone was calm, the night was quiet, and thousands upon thousands were sleeping under the leaves.

Day 6

Tonight was another busy night at Skala. The crowds were plentiful but we were experienced now. Communicate well; check in with the coordinators; direct people accurately; hand out supplies. Give it 2-3 hours and the boats will cease; ensure everyone has a patch of earth to sleep; then go home and collapse in our own beds.

On this night we found a pregnant woman who had begun her labour on Turkish land. She was unwell, dehydrated, and in pain. Our team and the Swisscross took her to the nearest clinic, Kalloni, where they were told that they were unable to care for her here. There is no delivery room and no OBGYNs. So we put her back in the car and took her to Mytiline. On arrival there was a tense stretch of time as the baby’s heartbeat was undetectable for 15 minutes. Lemah thought she would have to break the news to this young mother that her baby was dead. Fortunately, they found a weak heartbeat. The woman did not deliver that night but she was safe and well cared for. Our team described this as an emotional rollercoaster and Lemah was so well supported by Rahel, our Swisscross volunteer/veterinarian/makeshift nurse.

Within an hour was another patient. A man fitting and dropping his GCS to 4 in between his seizures was identified. At this point Aleem decided that the patient must be transported to a medical facility. We agreed that we are ultimately a medical mission and we must trust in the decisions of our medically trained doctors. Before transporting patients, however, we must ensure we have obtained the authority to do so by the Greek Police. Once we have informed them and provided our license plates we are permitted to continue.

This is an important point to clarify as we want to keep our staff as safe as our patients.

Day 7

This was a calm day. There was a steady stream of small number boats coming in throughout the day. They were medically healthy, provided with water and given directions to the nearest camp.

There is a world of difference between the boats that arrive in the day compared to the night. Those in the day are much calmer because of the improved visibility. They are less frightened and they dry off quickly. They are also able to walk to the transit points, freeing up our buses for more urgent need.

Day 8

Goodbyes, airport drop offs, and a quick stop to check out Kara Tepe, another transit camp.

Humanitarian AidJordanRefugeesSyria

Update on Hassan, the cancer patient in Jordan

We have received an update on Hassan, the young Syrian man who is suffering from a tumor on his leg. We have been collecting funds to help pay for his surgeries and chemotherapy treatments. Thank you to all who have donated to his fund. This is a quick message from Dr. Aws Shaker, our local physician who is keeping tabs on Hassan and his treatment for us:

I contacted Hasan’s family yesterday
he started with chemotherapy
received 2 sessions till now
last one was 1 week ago
next one will be after 2 weeks

he just delayed because his condition get worse
but he is better now
I contacted Jordanian organization (JHAS)
they donate him with 5000 JD (around 7000 $) as cash money
and pay for hospital 2000 JD (around 3000$)
I also asked Italian organization (Un Ponte Per) and they donate for primary investigations with 1500 JD (around 2000$)
so now he is covered almost for investigations and chemotherapy (still need a little bit more for chemo)
and still don’t know what to do for the surgery
anyway his father is so thankful for everyone who donates for his son.

Aws