UNICEF reaches children in war-ravaged areas with lifesaving healthcare services

“I wanted to volunteer as a nurse to help children and mothers who are unable to get healthcare elsewhere,”

Basma Ourfali and Yasmine Saker
Doctor examining baby
UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Khudr Al-Issa

23 May 2019

As violence subsided in the neighbourhood of Handarat camp on the outskirts of Aleppo, 200 families have returned to their damaged homes amidst a severe lack of services. Years of violence have taken a toll on the health sector, leaving no functioning clinics or health centres in the area.

Thanks to a generous contribution from the Office of U.S Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), UNICEF supports a mobile health clinic, working 6 days a week in Handarat camp and surrounding neighbourhoods to provide children and families with much-needed healthcare.

Hind, 44, joined the mobile health team as a nurse after receiving necessary trainings.

“I wanted to volunteer as a nurse to help children and mothers who are unable to get healthcare elsewhere,”

Hind

In Handarat camp, the team operates in a small rented apartment that they repaired lightly to serve as a makeshift clinic where they provide over 50 children and women with primary health care including consultations, medications, and preventive and therapeutic nutritional services and the distribution of nutritional supplements and micronutrients daily. The team also refers difficult cases to nearby hospitals.

Doctor examining baby
UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Khudr Al-Issa
Hind examines a child at the UNICEF-supported makeshift clinic.

“I’m very proud of the work we’re doing; to see young children who first came to us with their bones protruding now happy and healthy has become our mission,” 

Hind

Together with her colleagues, Hind also holds sessions for mothers and caregivers on infant and young child feeding.

“We managed to gain the trust of women in the community so that they come to us for advice or with questions and concerns without hesitation,” she adds.  

Nurse screening baby
UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Khudr Al-Issa
A nurse screens 4-year-old Najmah for malnutrition at the UNICEF-supported makeshift clinic in Handarat camp neighborhood on the outskirts of Aleppo city.