PPE Helps Al Quds Hospital Staff Stay Resilient
Our frontline defense can only help others when they themselves are protected
Ibrahim Hamad is a doctor at Al Quds Hospital’s central pharmacy. Like other medical staff in Gaza and beyond, he has been working long hours to respond to the pandemic.
“We get inquiries from the staff of different departments asking for face shields, face masks, and eye protection,” he says. Unfortunately, they don’t have an adequate supply for all staff.
“We’re dealing with critical lack of equipment. Donations like this can help us remain resilient and steadfast against this global pandemic.”
Although Gaza was successful at containing COVID-19 in the spring and summer, confirmed cases of community spread emerged in recent months. Hamad notes that there are now thousands of active coronavirus cases in Gaza, and hundreds in hospitals. “And the number is rising,” he says. As of late 2020, there are 10, 729 active cases reported, and 195 hospitalized patients in intensive care units.
Deteriorating health conditions are not a new phenomenon in Gaza. Supplies of medicines and personal protective equipment were low even before COVID-19. Without adequate supplies of PPE, hospital staff can’t protect themselves or others.
On top of these worries, there are a number of other challenges beyond the medical staff's control — including a dearth of coronavirus testing kits and inadequate awareness among the general public about the importance of taking precautionary measures.
“These are two-in-one, face shields and eye shields,” says Dr. Safa Hawar, the director at the central warehouse.
“We haven’t seen something like this in Gaza. We only got it from Anera. Even little things can make a big difference and help us respond,” she says.
Even as the numbers of COVID-19 cases are rising, quality eye and face protection for hospital staff is virtually nonexistent.
Fearing an influx of COVID-19 cases that could threaten the health of other patients, the hospital has set up a tent to test patients before they enter the building. Hospital staff are now identifying an average of 30 new COVID-19 cases each day. Patients who test positive are referred to more specialized facilities.
Early detection is paramount to slow the spread, Dr. Hawar says.
“The medical staff are our frontline defense. They can only help others when they themselves are protected.”
Thanks to the medical aid donated by Direct Relief and a grant from Islamic Relief USA to cover transportation costs of the shipment, Anera has delivered ICU kits for COVID-19. Each kit contains a vital antibiotic (ceftriaxone, Levofloxacin, Azithromycin), and PPE such as gloves, face masks and goggles. Anera distributed the medicine and PPE to six clinics and hospitals across Gaza.
The views expressed herein are those of Anera and shall not, in any way whatsoever, be construed to reflect the official opinion of IRUSA, its Islamic Relief affiliates, or its donors.