Gaziantep, 10th May 2017, 12:55pm
While meeting with staff from SAMS office in Gaziantep, we had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Khaled, the manager at the Clinic we fund in rural southern Aleppo.
Dr. Khaled is a GP from Jabal Zawi, where he lives with his family. His wife is also a gynaecologist. Each day he travels to the clinic across rural Aleppo to work. Previously he lived next to the clinic but the house was destroyed in an airstrike in October 2016.
He talks about a typical day, receiving – of course – the regular morbidity cases and now an increase in Leishmaniasis, which is often caused by poor and dirty living conditions, raw sewage and untreated rubbish. He describes how most cases are children and that their economic situation is poor. Many of the families have been displaced 2 or 3 times, he explains.
He arrives early in the clinic because he is the manager. “I am double suffering” he half jokes… “because if there is any absence [in staff] then I will cover for them.” He describes how all the staff must work in different roles, and again with a smile, jokes about being a cleaner and nurse at the same time.
“My greatest concern as a manager is to provide the services to all the people and not to refer people to outside of the facility”
Over the last 3 months the Clinic has provided 13,000 consultations, roughly 4,500 a month. First Aid is available at the clinic 24 hours a day.
Once we have finished discussing the workings of the hospital he tells us a bit about himself. He describes how he started as a general surgeon but had to stop during the 2011 protests because he was arrested three times – accused each time of treating protesters. Each time he denied it and was let go.
Khaled is another example of the extraordinary courage and resilience of these people who have seen their country torn apart by war. For Hands Up, having this direct contact with the people we fund is crucial, allowing us real insight into everyday life in Syria, but also to be very specific about where donor’s money goes. It was a privilege to speak with Dr Khaled and we are grateful to the team at SAMS for being so accommodating.