Service as a duty: A mother of five serving COVID-19 patients [EN/AR] – occupied Palestinian territory

“I am very proud to be part of UNRWA’s health program and to play a role in providing primary health services to Palestinian refugees!” said Wafa Amasi, a Palestinian refugee doctor at the UNRWA Nuseirat health center in Gaza. She has worked with UNRWA for the past 15 years serving Palestinian refugees, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She remembers how panicked Gazans were over the global and local spread of COVID-19. As a result of the blockade of Gaza, the Strip’s public health system has been strained and suffered from a severe shortage of capacity. “The fog of uncertainty spread across Gaza as the Ministry of Health reported the first case of COVID-19. The role of UNRWA’s health program has been essential in protecting the community, reducing the risk of infection and protecting its own health personnel.

“I worked in the respiratory unit, where I discovered many cases of COVID-19 at an early stage. First, we raised awareness of protective measures and quarantine. Then, depending on the a patient’s symptoms, we provided either medication or a referral to government hospitals,” Dr. Wafa said.

As a mother of five, Dr. Wafa has suffered emotional trauma due to the extent of the work she has undertaken during the pandemic and the possibility of exposing her children to the virus. She was reassured by the protective measures put in place by UNRWA for its patients and staff. “I was very careful, especially since I was in direct contact with patients with COVID-19 on a daily basis. At the health center, personal protective equipment was always available,” she stressed.

Thanks to generous funding from the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSrelief), UNRWA was able to obtain medical equipment and expand its health program services to manage COVID-19 cases, while simultaneously protecting staff and UNRWA patients.

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