INTRODUCTiON TO THE HEALTH SECTOR
WATAN’s belief in the importance of building a local response for current health needs is based on the idea that sustainable solutions must take into account the unique characteristics and resources of the community they are serving. By focusing on local communities, finance, and capacity, WATAN aims to create solutions that are tailored to the specific needs of the area, and that can be sustained over time without over relying on external support.
Our team is made up of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and technicians, as well as community outreach workers who are dedicated to helping individuals and families in the community to improve their health and wellness. We work closely with community organizations, schools, and other local partners to ensure that our program is meeting the specific needs of the community we serve.
Our mission is to establish a strong and reliable healthcare system in Syria by providing/purchasing a comprehensive package of essential health services and focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable individuals. We aim to improve sustainability of the essential healthcare services by establishing a local health financing mechanisms to enhance the effectiveness of life-saving health response efforts.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Primary health care support: by maintaining the provision of essential health services. This includes addressing non-communicable diseases, implementing infection prevention and control measures, providing sexual and reproductive health services, and addressing mental health needs through a gap action program. By providing these basic health care services and necessary medical supplies, we aim to reduce morbidity and improve the overall health and well-being of the Syrian population. Additionally, we will work to ensure that these services are accessible to all those in need, including vulnerable and marginalized communities.
Secondary health care support: orthopedic surgical interventions by supporting Al-Amal hospital, which is one of the two specialized orthopedic surgical hospitals in the North-West Syria (NWS). This includes a wide range of major surgeries, such as internal fracture fixation, joint replacement (knee and hips), and limb-saving surgeries after traumatic accidents. Additionally, we will ensure that orthopedic consumables are available for patients in the operation department. By providing these services, we aim to reduce the morbidity and mortality rates of trauma patients and decrease physical disability. This will have a positive impact on patients’ livelihoods and earning potential.
Blood Banks: WATAN Foundation has been actively working to support and operate blood banks and Thalassemia clinics in the Northern West of Syria (NWS) since 2017. We have implemented an integrated strategy for blood safety and availability which includes the establishment of well-organized blood banks with efficient transfusion services. We also ensure that all donated blood is screened for transfusion-transmissible infections such as HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphilis. This is to ensure that we provide sufficient and timely supplies of safe blood and blood products to meet the transfusion needs of all patients. By doing this, we aim to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve and reduce the risk of transmitting blood-borne infections.
Thalassemia: WATAN operates a specialized Thalassemia Clinic in Idleb, which is one of a limited number of centers providing medication for Thalassemia patients. The clinic provides a range of services including sample testing, patient nursing, and blood transfusion under the supervision of a Hematologist. These services were established in late 2018 in Idleb and have since treated a total of 193 Thalassemia cases. The clinic is dedicated to providing comprehensive care and support to Thalassemia patients and their families and working to improve their quality of life.
Emergency response: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the North-West Syria (NWS), WATAN took immediate action since the first confirmed case was reported. We established a COVID-19 Community Treatment Centre (CCTC) and managed three isolation centers for COVID-19 patients. However, due to the rapid increase in cases, there was a severe shortage of oxygen supply in COVID-19 hospitals. In collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), WATAN came up with an innovative solution to address this problem by launching a project to provide NWS with a Mobile Oxygen generator. This is the first of its kind in NWS and it serves a network of 17 hospitals in northern and western Aleppo. The Mobile Oxygen generator, with a capacity of 40 nm/h, includes a booster that can be used to fill 150 oxygen cylinders per day and can be linked to a piped oxygen network at the hospital. Depending on the needs, the Mobile generator can be moved to meet immediate needs at different hospitals. In addition to that, WATAN also responded to the Cholera epidemic in NWS by managing three oral rehydration points for the treatment of mild Cholera patients.
Responding to earthquake: A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck central Turkey and northwest Syria Feb 6, 2023, causing widespread damage in the building and huge number of the injuries. Watan took immediate action since the first hour of the earthquake, by announcing the emergency for medical staff and health facilities worked by WATAN. Al-Amal hospitals managed 1200 injuries who survived from EQ during 4 days after the disaster and 180 major surgeries were made for EQ victims’ patients. In addition to WATAN collaborated with HI for adding physiotherapy department to decrease disability rate for EQ victims. Idlib and Salqin blood banks increased blood donation camping to provide safety blood unite to hospitals to fill the gap in blood unites after the earthquake, 950 safety blood unites were provided to hospitals during the first week of EQ. Watan collaboration with NORWAC provided 92 kits of Lab and blood bank consumables to 9 blood banks and 10 hospitals that were affected by earthquake to refill the contingency stock. Watan collaborations with PARCIC distributed orthopedic surgical consumables to 4 hospitals that affected by earthquake.
Blood banks network: After the earthquake , WATAN supported by AFNS launched innovative project blood banks network, it is the first of its kind in NWS ,the project aims to link 9 blood banks with 55 surgical hospitals in NWS that will provide centralization of management for all blood banks in NWS .In addition to the project aims to ensure centralizing the blood supply chain to be able to fill the gaps and to adapt to different emergencies and demands in the NWS ,that will optimize the distribution and collection effort of blood unites by using central application .
WATAN Foundation’s health program aims to improve the health systems in North-West Syria (NWS) by providing fully equipped health facilities, well-trained medical staff, and rapid response through proper health information systems. The foundation operates in most besieged or hard-to-reach areas where the need for healthcare is the greatest. Our program includes several pillars such as primary healthcare, emergency response for COVID-19, blood bank and thalassemia clinics services, orthopedic surgery and telehealth. We focus on providing services to the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach areas. Our mission is to build a stable health system in Syria by focusing on the most vulnerable people and providing essential health services.
Additionally, WATAN Foundation is also researching the transition to local health financing in NWS. This includes studying the current state of healthcare financing in the region, identifying gaps and challenges, and developing strategies and recommendations for sustainable and locally led healthcare financing. This research aims to ensure the long-term sustainability of healthcare services in NWS and to empower local communities to take ownership of their health systems.
SECTOR PHILOSOPHY AND DIFFERENTIATORS
- Community involvement: The program should involve the local community in the planning, implementation, and management of the health financing scheme. This can help ensure that the program is responsive to the needs of the community and that there is buy-in from local stakeholders.
- Sustainability: The program should be designed to be financially sustainable in the long-term, so that it can continue to support the health needs of the community even after external funding dries up.
- Flexibility: The program should be flexible enough to accommodate different types of health financing mechanisms, such as pre-paid health schemes, community-based health insurance, or health savings accounts.
- Transparency and accountability: The program should have clear financial and governance structures in place, and there should be transparency and accountability for the use of funds.
- Health outcomes: The program should be designed to improve health outcomes for the community, and there should be mechanisms in place to monitor and evaluate the program’s impact.
WATAN’S WORK IN THE HEALTH SECTOR
WATAN Foundation has been working in the health sector since 2012, providing a wide range of services to improve the health system in Northern West of Syria (NWS). Their activities include primary health care, secondary health care, and emergency response. They operate 3 primary health care centers and provide all basic services such as medical consultations and health promoting, distribution of medicines and medical consumables. Additionally, they prioritize specialized surgery and operate Al-Amal Hospital for Orthopedic Surgery, providing basic services such as major and minor operations, medical consultations, and distribution of medicines and consumables.
WATAN Foundation also operates three blood banks that provide quality services such as distribution of blood bags and routine safety checks, as well as conducting blood tests. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, they operated three CCTCs for the treatment of Corona patients, isolation of confirmed and suspected patients, distribution of medicines, in addition to distributed oxygen generators to health facilities, also set up a mobile oxygen generator. They also provided telemedicine consultation services and carried out group awareness sessions to raise awareness of cholera and how to prevent it.
WATAN is proud to highlight some of its current projects, which are part of a health program that has helped reduce the suffering and mortality of the Syrian people.
- Supporting Al-Amal hospital, (specialized orthopedic surgical hospital)
- Supporting three blood bank centers
- Supporting three primary healthcare facilities
- Supporting Telehealth project
- Supporting COVID-19 Community Treatment Centre
- Supporting of blood banks networks