Strengthening the capacity of local hospitals to fight COVID-19 in the West Bank – Occupied Palestinian Territory
When the coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19) first hit the West Bank in March 2020, Beit Jala hospital and other health facilities in the region quickly mobilized to respond, with support of the Palestinian Ministry of Health. However, hospitals were quickly overwhelmed by a rapidly increasing workload, leaving healthcare workers unable to meet the needs of all COVID-19 patients or adequately protect themselves against the disease.
In response, with $ 6 million in funding from the USAID Humanitarian Assistance Office (USAID / BHA), the non-governmental organization Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is providing comprehensive support to Beit Jala and 13 other hospitals. West Bank to strengthen their capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ibrahim Alsahouri, Head of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), said: “Before the project, our capacity [to respond to COVID- 19] was limited. We are very grateful for the great support of this project. He noted that the project, which includes providing essential medical supplies and improving infrastructure, has enabled them to receive more patients.
In addition, USAID / BHA support has enabled Beit Jala to expand the capacity of the intensive care unit with appropriate equipment and provide supplies for a new COVID-19 triage area. CRS also provided essential training on IPC measures to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Beit Jala’s quality control manager Abdel Nasser Qisi said: “The training helped us a lot because the people who received the training came back to the hospital and trained other staff. [including] cleaners, ambulance drivers, cooks, nurses and doctors … It really helped us reduce the spread of COVID-19 inside the hospital.
Through the provision of essential medical equipment and training, USAID / BHA continues to support the capacity of local hospitals to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and maintain essential health services throughout the West Bank. Discussing the project, the director of Beit Jala hospital, Dr Ghada Kawaa, stressed, “Thanks to the rapid response, we are saving many lives every day. “