MedGlobal Calls on ICRC to Evacuate All Remaining Medical Staff and Patients from Kamal Adwan Hospital to Safety  

MedGlobal Calls on ICRC to Evacuate All Remaining Medical Staff and Patients from Kamal Adwan Hospital to Safety  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 11, 2023

MEDIA CONTACT

Samantha Kupferman, +1 202-215-9620

[email protected]

MedGlobal Calls on ICRC to Evacuate All Remaining Medical Staff and Patients from Kamal Adwan Hospital to Safety  

One of the last partially functioning hospitals in northern Gaza is besieged under bombing, and without adequate medical supplies, electricity, or communication. 

GAZA CITY – There are currently 12 medical staff members and 25 patients, as well as approximately 7,000 civilians, many of them are injured, who sought refuge at Kamal Adwan hospital in the city of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza. MedGlobal is calling on the International Committee of the Red Cross for a safe and immediate evacuation of all staff, patients, and potentially all consenting civilians at the hospital to southern Gaza. 

MedGlobal’s lead Pediatrician, Dr. Hussam Abu Safyia, is one of 5 doctors remaining at the hospital, who would not evacuate, and leave his patients behind. Kamal Adwan has been one of the last partially functioning hospitals in northern Gaza, as the others have been forced to close due to bombing, forced evacuation, and depleted medical supplies. 

Only 14 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are still operating, and that only partially. Of those, 12 hospitals are in the southern part of the enclave, where most people have fled.

Dr. Hussam Abu Safyia, sent an SOS message pleading for help: “It had been a long nightmare. I’ve seen many colleagues die, and countless children lose their lives needlessly. The team at Kamal Adwan is exhausted. We have done all we can for our patients and community for as long as we could. Evacuation is the only way right now.”

Dr. Zaher Sahloul, the president of MedGlobal stated: “We urge the ICRC to discharge its responsibilities as mandated by its mission and Geneva Conventions, to coordinate with all parties, and facilitate the evacuation of all patients and medical staff of Kamal Adwan hospital, and providing necessary safe medical transports and ambulances for the wounded.”  

More than 17,000 people are reported to have died in Gaza, including 7000 children. More than 46,000 injuries have been reported. 1.9 million people have been displaced. Almost the entire population of the Gaza Strip are looking for shelter anywhere they can find it but nowhere and no one is safe in Gaza, according to the WHO in its latest report. 

MedGlobal has called for adherence to international humanitarian law and medical neutrality, an immediate and sustained humanitarian ceasefire, and for unrestricted adequate humanitarian and medical aid into Gaza from all available border-crossings. 

Since 2018, MedGlobal has been working in Gaza through its local team to strengthen the healthcare system, donating medical equipment and supplies, sending medical and surgical missions, supporting mobile clinics, training doctors and nurses, and supporting hospitals, clinics, wound care centers, and dialysis centers in partnership with the local community.

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MedGlobal is a humanitarian nonprofit organization that provides emergency response and health programs to build resilience among vulnerable communities around the world.

Gaza Physicians Face Danger and Impossible Evacuation Conditions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

November 11, 2023 

MEDIA CONTACTS: 

Samantha Kupferman, +1 202-215-9620

[email protected]

Gaza Physicians Face Danger and Impossible Evacuation Conditions

MedGlobal renews urgent calls for permanent ceasefire, humanitarian aid, and the safe evacuation of their staff and all medical workers

GAZA CITY – MedGlobal’s team of physicians and medical personnel remain on the ground providing emergency medical aid and supplies for the people of Gaza, and face imminent danger alongside their patients. 

Staff at the Al Shifa hospital are unable to evacuate to safety due to the intense sniper attacks, targeting anyone who tries to flee from the building’s doors to South Gaza – even during the four-hour ceasefire window. As heavy bombing continues to threaten hospitals, communications from staff at the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahia have been cut off.

16 out of Gaza’s 35 hospitals have been forced to close or are nonfunctional as of November 3, 2023. Dozens of medical workers have died and thousands of patients remain unable to evacuate due to their reliance on ventilators, incubators, and other intensive care services.

MedGlobal’s president, Dr. Zaher Sahloul, said: “Civilians and healthcare workers must be protected under international humanitarian law. Our staff are risking their lives to protect their patients, continuing to serve despite the grief of losing their own families and communities. The least the world can do is ensure their safe evacuation.”

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MedGlobal is a humanitarian nonprofit organization that provides emergency response and health programs to build resilience among vulnerable communities around the world.

Newborns and Women in Gaza Hospitals Dying as Fuel Runs Out  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 8th, 2023

MEDIA CONTACT

Samantha Kupferman, +1 202-215-9620

[email protected]

Newborns and Women in Gaza Hospitals Dying as Fuel Runs Out  

MedGlobal renews calls for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid as the preventable death toll inside fuel-starved Gaza hospitals falls disproportionately on neonatal units. 

GAZA CITY – As numbers continue to stream out on the amount of casualties due to the escalation of the conflict in Palestine, women, children, and newborns are being disproportionately affected due to both the constant bombing as well as the reduced access to healthcare services. As of November 6th, 2023, 2,641 women and 4,104 children have been killed in the Gaza strip according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health’s data. This makes up over two-thirds of all casualties in the area, and thousands more are injured. 

There are an estimated 50,000 pregnant women currently in Gaza who are struggling to access essential health services. 15% of all women who give birth in Gaza are likely to experience complications, and with more than 180 children being born every day in some of the most inadequate of conditions, the situation is dire. 

16 out of Gaza’s 35 hospitals have been forced to close or are nonfunctional as of November 3, 2023. As hospitals run out of fuel, the lives of an estimated 130 premature babies who rely on neonatal and intensive care services are under threat, as incubators and other vital medical equipment is being shut off. 

MedGlobal’s president, Dr. Zaher Sahloul, said: “A new horror is facing the people of Gaza and our doctors working to save them. As hospitals turn off the last of their equipment due to lack of fuel, neonatal wards are falling dark and newborns and mothers are suffering. These are among the saddest yet easily preventable tragedies. We cannot turn away from dying children and pregnant mothers – fuel and aid must be allowed into Gaza today.”

MedGlobal is calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and for unrestricted humanitarian aid and fuel to be allowed into Gaza. All parties must maintain medical neutrality in order to protect children from harm and afford them the rights to which they are entitled to under international humanitarian and human rights laws. 

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MedGlobal is a humanitarian nonprofit organization that provides emergency response and health programs to build resilience among vulnerable communities around the world.

The Bombing of the Baptist (Al-Ahli Al-Arabi) Hospital in Gaza is the Worst Attack on Healthcare in the 21st Century

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 17th, 2023

MEDIA CONTACT

Samantha Kupferman, +1 202-215-9620

[email protected]

The Bombing of the Baptist (Al-Ahli Al-Arabi) Hospital in Gaza is the Worst Attack on Healthcare in the 21st Century 

At least 500 people have reportedly been killed in a the bombing of a Palestinian hospital

GAZA CITY – At least 500 people have been killed in the Israeli bombing of Baptist Hospital in Gaza City according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. This is the worse attack on healthcare since the beginning of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge in al-Ahli and other hospitals in Gaza City in past days, hoping they would be spared bombardment after Israel ordered all residents of the city and surrounding areas to evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip.

“The bombing of the Baptist Hospital is the worst attack on a medical facility in the 21st century. Its cruelty and death toll of innocent patients, civilians, and the healthcare workers trying to save them is staggering” said Dr. Zaher Sahloul, president of MedGlobal, who witnessed many attacks on healthcare in Ukraine, Yemen, and in his homeland, Syria, by the Assad regime and Russia. “Bombing hospitals is against international law. It is a war crime. It undermines medical neutrality and the 150 years old Geneva Conventions, and deprives a distressed local Palestinian community from access to healthcare. It compounds trauma in the Gaza strip, sending the message that nowhere is safe, not even inside a hospital.” 

MedGlobal’s lead physician in Gaza, Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, currently working from Kamal Adwan hospital spoke to the severity of the situation saying: “We are overwhelmed. We are struggling to help the victims. We can’t deal with the large number of deaths and injuries. Most victims are women and children sleeping in the hospital. We expect more hospitals to be bombed. There is no safe place in Gaza.” 

Before this attack, and according to the World Health Organization, there were 43 violent attacks on healthcare in Gaza since October 7, including 26 attacks on medical facilities and 15 attacks on ambulances, that led to 20 deaths and 29 injuries. 

MedGlobal team and staff are safe. They are struggling to continue their work in the midst of a full blown war where there is no safe place in Gaza. 

Since 2018, MedGlobal has been sending volunteer medical teams to help build healthcare capacity among our Palestinian colleagues and has been providing primary and secondary healthcare by supporting hospitals, clinics, dialysis centers and mobile clinics in partnership with the local community.

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MedGlobal is a humanitarian nonprofit organization that provides emergency response and health programs to build resilience among vulnerable communities around the world.

MedGlobal Calls to Halt the Deleterious Evacuation of Patients in Gaza

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 16th, 2023

MEDIA CONTACT

Samantha Kupferman, +1 202-215-9620

[email protected]

MedGlobal Calls to Halt the Deleterious Evacuation of Patients in Gaza

Evacuating 3000 Patients from North Gaza to the South is Near Impossible and Will Cause Death of Innocent Patients 

GAZA CITY – MedGlobal’s team of physicians and medical personnel remain on the ground providing emergency medical aid and supplies for the people of Gaza amid Israel’s abrupt and forced evacuation of northern Gaza. MedGlobal is one of the last international NGOs still operating under these dire conditions and its team has refused to abandon patients at the Kamal Adwan hospital amid the evacuation. Other hospitals also refused to evacuate including the largest medical complex that has about 700 patients, many of them are critically ill. 

“Even in the US, it is impossible to evacuate patients safely during disasters as we have seen after Hurricane Katrina. Patients will die during evacuation including children on ventilators and newborns in incubators,” said Dr. Zaher Sahloul, president of MedGlobal. “It is logistically impossible to evacuate 3,000 patients and 4,000 healthcare workers to southern Gaza.”

About 600,000 fled in a mass exodus from northern Gaza after Israel’s military instructed 1.1 million Palestinians to evacuate to the southern part of the besieged strip ahead of an expected ground invasion. The U.N. warned that evacuating half of the crowded Gaza’s population would be calamitous, and urged Israel to reverse the unprecedented directive. 

We have 170 patients and 200 medical staff in our hospital in northern Gaza. We refuse to evacuate because it is not safe for our patients and we can’t find beds for them in the south of Gaza,” said Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, MedGlobal’s lead physician in Gaza. “ We have five critically ill children, and four newborns in incubators who will die during transportation in the midst of a catastrophic situation.”

Hospitals in southern Gaza do not have enough beds to accommodate patients if they are evacuated from the north. All of the 800 beds in the south are occupied by critically injured patients, most of them are women and children. 

Since October 7th and the escalation of the crisis in Gaza, Medglobal has locally procured medical supplies, fuel, and medicine and distributed them to 11 hospitals in Gaza. 63,000 liters of diesel fuel for electric generators have been procured and sent to these hospitals, allowing them to operate for at least 1 month each. MedGlobal has also provided daily meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to doctors, nurses and staff in 5 hospitals and to nearly 3,500 internally displaced persons.

Since 2018, MedGlobal has donated 6 million dollars worth of medical supplies, and medical equipment, in addition to sending diverse volunteer medical teams to help build healthcare capacity in Gaza. MedGlobal’s local team has been providing primary and secondary healthcare by supporting hospitals, clinics, dialysis centers, a wound care clinic, elderly health, nursing and doctors training, reproductive health, and mobile clinics in partnership with the local community.

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MedGlobal is a humanitarian nonprofit organization that provides emergency response and health programs to build resilience among vulnerable communities around the world.

 

Caring for Older Populations in Gaza

By Edith Muleiro, MedGlobal Communications Intern

By 2030 there will be 1.4 billion older people. By 2050 there will be 2.1 billion, meaning one in five people will be over 60 in low and lower-middle income countries. These numbers are rising at an exceptionally fast rate in the low and lower-middle income countries where 80% of the global older populations reside. As the world faces unprecedented numbers of people in need of humanitarian aid, the unique vulnerabilities of older populations within humanitarian crises must be prioritized. 

Humanity and Impartiality are two of the four universal humanitarian principles that MedGlobal operates by. These principles work towards eliminating health disparities and inequalities which may arise, for example, through the unequal distribution of resources, including goods and services. When these disparities are combined with existing structural inequities, communities are left vulnerable and underserved, a vulnerability that is magnified in an emergency crisis. Currently, the principle of impartiality does not include age as a grounds of neglect. However, this does not negate the fact that older people are often neglected within humanitarian responses. Research gaps demonstrate a lack of attention to issues affecting older people in human rights law, conferences, and within the work of humanitarian organizations on a global scale.

One of the main factors that create vulnerability within communities is isolation, a factor that disproportionately affects older populations. Up to 1 out of 3 older people feel lonely in some countries, and this affects both their mental and physical health. Health inequities arise from isolation and loneliness when these conditions limit access to services. In Gaza, the world watched this May as an example of isolation and its detrimental effects developed. The bombardment in Gaza made aid inaccessible by making it impossible to reach areas or individuals because of destroyed infrastructure, roads, and limited means of transportation. For older populations with limited mobility, access to aid and information can be critical to survival. Older people make up around 5% of the population in Gaza.

An older male patient has his blood pressure checked by a health worker in Gaza.

One of the major barriers which humanitarian organizations face when tailoring programs and providing aid for older people is the lack of research regarding their needs in emergency contexts. Despite evidence showing that older people may be more likely to suffer in humanitarian crises from preventable causes, such as lack of information, access to transport, and other services, there are few programs with a specific focus on older populations. HelpAge, one of the few NGOs which focuses on older people, found that of 1,912 aid projects only 18 had activities that focused on the needs of older people. These gaps in information and programs lead to enhanced vulnerability of older populations. 

After the May bombardment in Gaza, MedGlobal launched a robust emergency response to meet the needs of vulnerable populations. The bombardment alongside the ongoing COVID-19 crisis expanded gaps in the health sector and inhibited accessibility for all populations in Gaza. The attacks by Israel took at least 253 lives, including 66 children, and 17 older people, and injured almost 2,000. HelpAge released a statement during the May bombardment highlighting the severity of the situation for older people. During a bombardment, one’s ability to move down a flight of stairs and flee to safety may quickly determine their survival. Many lost their homes, were unable to flee, or were at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in overcrowded shelters. A spokesperson from the El-Wedad Society, Oday Al Meghari, said, “The El-Wedad Society, as the primary organization in the Gaza Strip and Palestine looking after the needs of older people, is facing tremendous difficulties in providing protection and care in these difficult circumstances due to the lack of resources and scarcity of funding.” 

“MedGlobal believes that healthcare is a right for every human being, so we are dedicated to supporting those in need and guaranteeing safe access to high-quality healthcare services. We are working tirelessly in Gaza to reach out to those who can’t access healthcare services, especially in rural and marginalized areas.”

-Alaa, MedGlobal Gaza Program Manager

For those that lived through the bombing, the inability to flee caused psychological trauma for themselves and their families. In a study conducted in August by HelpAge, 78% of participants reported feeling anxious ‘most or all of the time’ in the 2 months prior and 52% reported feeling depressed ‘most or all the time.’ The HelpAge study also found that 97% of older people in Gaza have at least one health condition and 86% have at least one disability. Older people face far greater obstacles to accessing health care than the general population due to limited mobility, the effects of the harsh economic situation, and aid oversight. Despite these vulnerabilities, 74% of older people in Gaza reported they receive no humanitarian assistance. The majority of older people and their families live in poverty and have limited to no access to medicine due to the shortages the Ministry of Health is facing. MedGlobal has prioritized the creation of a multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral, and rights-based approach to address the needs of older people and has integrated this into the Elderly Health Program. Recognition of the acute vulnerability of older populations in Gaza motivated the MedGlobal team to start a specific program based on older people’s health. We have also launched a program in Lebanon. These programs take an important first step towards prioritizing older people and building data around their needs to fill the gaps mentioned above.

An elderly woman in bed received medical care from a MedGlobal health worker in Gaza.

“Yesterday we received a call from WHO praising the importance and the necessity of the project, as no organizations are targeting this vulnerable group. Alaa and I notice this during our daily work on the ground. We observe firsthand how much support elderly people need – not only medical but also psychological. They deserve to have access to this support, it’s their human right. Here at MedGlobal, we do all we can to support them.”

– Rajaa, MedGlobal Gaza Country Representative

MedGlobal’s Elderly Health Program in Gaza is carried out through home visits, for which 1 physician, 1 nurse, and 1 psychologist has been hired. These home visits will be carried out for 400 patients, with 400 initial consultations and 800 follow-ups. These home visits will also allow the team to identify more serious cases which will be transferred to other hospitals. The team will also provide medical equipment, like walkers and sanitary and hygiene materials. Lastly, MedGlobal will improve awareness about elderly health care and preventative measures for 400 caregivers. These types of initiatives serve to meet the needs of older people in Gaza and also add to global data on older populations. In addition to the services provided for older people, the MedGlobal Gaza team also works to reach the rest of the population in Gaza with emergency health services by providing medications, medical supplies, and equipment to health facilities in Gaza. MedGlobal works alongside the Union of Health Care Committees (UHCC), MAP UK, and Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC) to improve health services for 10,000 beneficiaries.

“Elderly people are one of the most vulnerable groups in the Gaza Strip. The vast majority of them are still living under harsh circumstances as they belong to underprivileged families who are passing through food insecurity and poverty. The inaccessibility to proper healthcare is still a burden since community support is not widely available. Provision of the medication and sanitary kits make the difference as they prevent further health deterioration. Also, the psychosocial support alongside awareness sessions for the elderly and caregivers are tools to get them out of the depression trap and save their dignity and self-esteem.”

– Alaa, MedGlobal Gaza Program Manager

Gaza: Update from the Ground

May 24, 2021

After 11 days of violent hostilities, including airstrikes in Gaza that killed 248 Palestinians including 66 children, a ceasefire was reached on Thursday. However, thousands have been displaced from their homes, hospitals and health clinics have been destroyed, and more than 1,940 wounded people have little access to health care.

In an op-ed for The Guardian, our health team in Gaza described the devastation facing civilians and how the health sector is left to pick up the pieces: “Health workers tried to save as many lives as they could, though we did not have enough medicine, resources, or manpower to keep up with the rising number of injuries each day.”
Health care is more important than ever. Our health team in Gaza is working around the clock to assess the damage and greatest health needs. Help us reach those most in need in Gaza by supporting life-saving medical supplies, medications, and hygiene kits.

Health Sector in Crisis

Even before the bombardment began, over 1.6 million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance in Gaza. A longstanding blockade caused chronic shortages of medications. The recent second wave of COVID-19 added an additional burden.

During the bombardment, at least 9 hospitals and 19 primary healthcare centers were damaged in the airstrikes, 22 ambulances were damaged, and 83 health personnel injured. Two of Gaza’s most prominent doctors were killed in the airstrikes: Dr. Mooein Ahmad al-Aloul, one of the only psychiatrists & neurologists in Gaza, and Dr. Ayman Abu al-Ouf, head of the internal medicine department at Al-Shifa Hospital. We extend our deepest condolences to their families, medical colleagues, and the entire community. The loss of these two health leaders and medical specialists is immense.

Our Emergency Health Response

Over the weekend, our Gaza Program Director Raja participated in a field visit to the damaged health facilities to assess the impact of the bombardment. She visited several hospitals and health clinics, including the Al-Remal Healthcare Center, the largest primary health clinic in Gaza which houses the lab responsible for COVID-19 testing.

To support those most affected by the bombardment, MedGlobal is working to urgently provide medication, medical supplies, and hygiene kits. We are also coordinating with local medical providers to set up mobile health programs, so families can access health services in their homes. This is particularly important as so many health facilities are out of service, and road damage is obstructing access to the few hospitals that are open. We are assessing how to best support the rehabilitation of health facilities damaged in the airstrikes, so that access to health care is most widely available.

MedGlobal’s previous health work in Gaza includes support for the COVID-19 response through 722,000 PPE items to protect vulnerable health workers, critical medical supplies and medications, and a PCR machine to allow for rapid COVID-19 testing capacity. MedGlobal has also supported emergency pediatrics care, launched trainings for local nurses, and led health education campaigns to reach members of the community.

Donate to our emergency health response to support the people of Gaza.

For any media requests, please contact Kat Fallon, Director of Policy & Communications, at [email protected].

Field Operations Update for November 2020

Each month, MedGlobal publishes a monthly Field Operation Update, highlighting our humanitarian and health programs around the world. MedGlobal supports healthcare in Bangladesh, Colombia, Ecuador, Gaza, Greece, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, and has been contributing to the COVID-19 response in the United States. These monthly blog posts provide a snapshot of some of our most notable program updates from the past month. For more frequent updates, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

Bangladesh

In collaboration with Prantic and OBAT Helpers, MedGlobal provided a major distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and other health and hygiene equipment to health clinics in Cox’s Bazar. This medical distribution is supporting Rohingya refugees in the camps, as well as the Bangladeshi community in Cox’s Bazar town. The medical equipment included the most critically needed supplies to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19, including oxygen concentrators, portable ventilators, over 700 PPE sets, infrared thermometers, and more. This distribution also included 7 handwashing stands that went to the host community in Cox’s Bazar. They are stationed at various high-traffic areas, such as outside temples and public toilet spots.

Gaza 

The rapid spread of COVID-19 in Gaza continued into November. In partnership with Rahma Worldwide, MedGlobal provided a shipment of 75,400 PPE items as well as sanitizing supplies to the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza in November. MedGlobal’s Gaza Program Manager Raja commented, “As COVID-19 continues to spread so rapidly in Gaza, masks and other PPE are critical to protect the few health workers available to treat those affected.”

MedGlobal also continues to support the salaries of staff in Kamal Adwan Hospital’s Pediatric ICU Department. This month, MedGlobal increased the number of staff we’re supporting to 20 doctors and nurses. This emergency pediatrics department is critical, particularly as the people in Gaza are cut off from external healthcare, and its medical staff have saved over 100 children’s lives. Gaza is home to two million Palestinians, nearly 80% of whom rely on humanitarian assistance and live in overcrowded areas with poor living conditions.

Lebanon

MedGlobal has continued its medical response in Beirut, aimed at supporting overwhelmed health facilities facing increased levels of medical need and a medication shortage in Lebanon. In partnership with Baitulmaal, MedGlobal delivered two rounds of medications to the Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, which will provide critical treatment for hundreds of patients facing emergency health issues as well as non-communicable diseases. During the distribution, our Lebanon team commented: “They have been out of stock of some of these medicines for quite some time, and they are life-saving.”

Syria

In northwest Syria, there are now between 300-500 new confirmed COVID-19 cases each day. With a health system destroyed from war, local health workers warn that a health catastrophe may be imminent. MedGlobal, alongside our partners Rahma Worldwide and Violet Organization, began the installation of two major oxygen generators: one in Idlib City and one in Darkoush, northwest Syria. These generators will help supply health facilities, especially those leading in COVID-19 treatment, with critically-needed oxygen. Health facilities in northwest Syria have been facing an increasing demand for oxygen cylinders with the rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 patients who face severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing. This oxygen supply will have a lasting impact for local communities.

In addition, MedGlobal continued its distribution of 200 oxygen concentrators and 100 CPAP/ BIPAP machines in partnership with local independent NGOs throughout Syria, including to Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Latakia, Hama, Zabadani, Bludan, and Safita. The provision of oxygen and these non-invasive ventilators are critical for people with difficulty breathing, primarily those suffering from severe COVID-19 symptoms. MedGlobal is also distributing 2,500 pulse oximeters, devices to measure the level of oxygen in your blood, which were also requested as critical based on local needs assessments.

United States 

Domestically, MedGlobal is committed to supporting health facilities that focus on supporting particularly marginalized and underserved communities. These communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 with both higher rates of infection and mortality from the virus. In November, Illinois saw a spike in COVID-19, with the daily rates consistently over 10,000 new cases and 100 deaths per day. Hospitals became increasingly stretched then. In November, MedGlobal donated an additional 1,000 PPE items to Saint Anthony Hospital in Chicago to help with their COVID-19 response. Saint Anthony Hospital is a safety-net hospital that primarily treats underserved communities of immigrants, people of color, and those facing economic hardship.

Field Operations Update for October 2020

Each month, MedGlobal publishes a monthly Field Operation Update, highlighting our humanitarian and health programs around the world. MedGlobal supports healthcare in Bangladesh, Colombia, Ecuador, Gaza, Greece, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, and has been contributing to the COVID-19 response in the United States. These monthly blog posts provide a snapshot of some of our most notable program updates from the past month. For more frequent updates, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

Colombia

Nurse in Colombia at Tienditas shelter

This past month, MedGlobal extended support for two nurses working at a shelter at Tienditas Bridge on the border of Venezuela and Colombia. These nurses are providing free medical care to Venezuelans who are stuck at the border, waiting to return to Venezuela due to deteriorating conditions in Colombia. Particularly since COVID-19 reached the country, the Colombian health system has been overwhelmed and many of the 1.8 million displaced Venezuelans in the country do not have access to health services. The lockdowns and economic downturn caused by COVID-19 have also made life for migrants in Colombia increasingly difficult. Thousands of Venezuelans are now attempting to return home, but prospects for returnees, especially in terms of access to healthcare, remain grim. 

Gaza 

The spike of COVID-19 cases in Gaza has continued into October. MedGlobal, in partnership with Rahma Worldwide, provided 6,000 COVID-19 test kits and a shipment of medications for chronic diseases to hospitals in Gaza. This aid is crucial for supporting the fragile and under-resourced health sector that suffers from chronic shortages of medications and supplies. Testing capacity has also remained an urgent issue in Gaza, where hospitals rely on donations of testing kits from humanitarian organizations and UN agencies to meet needs. Gaza is home to two million Palestinians, nearly 80% of whom rely on humanitarian assistance and live in overcrowded areas with poor living conditions.

Lebanon

Following the devastating explosion of Beirut’s port, MedGlobal launched an emergency response in Beirut to provide support to overwhelmed health facilities facing increased levels of medical need. MedGlobal partnered with United Hands Relief and Development to provide essential medical equipment and supplies to the LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital in Beirut. The medical container included more than 55,000 medications and 20,000 pieces of equipment and supplies, including critically-need PPE to protect health staff during the pandemic. This support will help serve nearly 10,000 people in Lebanon.

Sudan 

MedGlobal and the Sudanese American Physician Association (SAPA) are moving forward together to build an oxygen generator and oxygen filling station at Nyala Teaching Hospital in South Darfur. MedGlobal and SAPA will also provide 20 oxygen cylinders. The project will be managed by the South Darfur Ministry of Health which will provide long-term maintenance for the generator. This support will play a role in building the hospital’s capacity to treat patients with extreme COVID-19 symptoms or other respiratory illnesses in an extremely underserved community. MedGlobal has previously supported 8 hospitals throughout Sudan with PPE and medical equipment, but this is the first project MedGlobal has launched in the Darfur region.

Yemen 

MedGlobal distributed PPE, medical supplies, and equipment to Al Mokha Isolation Center in Taiz governorate. This support follows MedGlobal’s work to establish the isolation unit which provides vital healthcare to one of the area’s most vulnerable populations. Prior to MedGlobal’s involvement, there were no functioning hospitals screening for COVID-19 in Al Mokha. All suspected and confirmed cases were referred to Aden or Taiz City, a journey of 4 to 5 hours, forcing many people with COVID-19 to remain at home as their health deteriorated. The recent distribution to Al Mokha Isolation Center included 24 beds, 19 oxygen cylinders, diagnostic equipment, thousands of items of PPE, and other requested medical supplies. In Yemen, only half of all medical facilities are fully functioning, making health support more critical than ever.

3 years ago, MedGlobal was born

By Dr. Zaher Sahloul, MedGlobal President and Co-Founder

Three years ago, I was in Yemen with three other medical volunteers, providing internal medicine and pediatrics services to people suffering from the effects of war and famine. MedGlobal had just been formed. In between medical consultations, we talked about the goals for the future of our organization, dedicated to providing innovative healthcare to crisis-affected and low-resource areas.

But I could have never predicted how many people we would reach in just three years.

  • In the last three years, we have:
  • Served more than 204,700 patients all around the world.
  • Provided local health facilities with more than $16.2 million in medical supplies, equipment, and assistance.
  • Mobilized 455 health volunteers from 26 countries to provide their skills in medical trainings and consultations for areas most in need.
  • Expanded our operations to serve the most vulnerable communities in 14 countries: Bangladesh, Colombia, Ecuador, Gaza, Greece, Kurdistan in Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Syria, the United States, Venezuela, and Yemen.

Your support has made this possible.

I also never could have predicted this difficult moment in time – six months into a global pandemic, seeing record daily increases in COVID-19. Our countries of operation have been hit with new and ongoing crises: a devastating fire on Lesvos Island, Greece, just burned the Moria refugee camp to the ground; the explosion in Beirut created a new humanitarian emergency; Sudan and Bangladesh are experiencing record-breaking floods; and the protracted conflicts in Syria and Yemen have led to unthinkable suffering. We still have a lot of work to do.

Every day, however, I am inspired by you – my health colleagues, community members, and supporters from around the world. You remind me that our organization’s mission is possible: to create a world without healthcare disparity.

Your support is the reason our services and health programs have grown so quickly in just three years – imagine what we can do together in the next three. Join us in supporting critical and innovative health services.

Thank you for being part of the MedGlobal community.

In solidarity,

Dr. Zaher Sahloul
MedGlobal President and Co-Founder