UAE signs US$ 1 million cooperation agreement with the World Health Organization to secure artificial limbs for Syrians in need.
Continuing its history of humanitarian support of the people affected by the crisis in Syria, earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD) announced that it signed a one-year US$ 1 million agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO) to support the organization’s Syria Crisis Response 2014 mission.
Signed by H.E. Hazza Al Qahtani, Undersecretary of MICAD, and Ms. Elizabeth Hoff, Representative of the WHO in Syria, the agreement establishes the principle of cooperation and consultation between the two parties, and specifies the provision of artificial limbs and assistive devices for people injured in conflicts in Syria.
Struggling Medical Systems and Violent Conflict Create Need for Prosthetics
Though injury statistics in war-torn countries like Syria are difficult to compile due to the geographical dispersion of refugees and a lack of medical infrastructure, the data that is available indicates significant need. According to a physician in East Ghouta, 1 in 8 injuries from the strife in Syria require amputation.
Handicap International conducted 1,847 interviews with displaced Syrians who were seeking physical and psychological support. Almost half of interviewees had sustained injuries related to the current conflict, and 25% of them had undergone an amputation.
The most recent Situation Report published by the WHO in June 2014 indicates a dramatic increase in the number of injuries, up to 25,000 new injuries per month. Combined with a shortage of medical supplies and clean drinking water, an increase in complications (i.e., infections, gangrene, organ failure, and death) is also being reported.
“Appropriate and timely interventions are needed to limit the risk of avoidable amputations and preserve the longer-term health outcomes of patients,” Ms. Hoff told nuviun.
“This agreement is testament to the UAE’s support to regional and international humanitarian issues and we are proud to work with the WHO on this important cause which aims to change the lives of many by giving them hope for the future,” said Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of MICAD. “We hope this project opens the door for further collaboration in future, as we remain committed to providing assistance to those affected by the unfortunate conflict in Syria,” she added.
The UAE Remains a Leader in Humanitarian Aid
The Ministry of International Cooperation and Development was established on March 12, 2013 to work with UAE donor organizations to boost the UAE’s position as a major international donor and a key player in development and international cooperation. MICAD is headquartered in Abu Dhabi with a branch in Dubai.
MICAD proposes the policies and priority areas for UAE foreign assistance, humanitarian aid, and development. Thanks in part to the efforts of MICAD, in 2013, the UAE donated more money as a proportion of Gross National Income than any other country worldwide, at 1.34%.
MICAD and the WHO have agreed to work jointly to help individuals affected by the Syrian crisis. The UAE contribution of AED 3.6 million (US$ 1 million) is expected to supply 700 patients inside Syria with artificial limbs, in addition to repairing artificial limbs for another 300 patients.
WHO’s project under the UAE grant includes the development of a national action plan to build the capacity of physical therapists and prosthesis technicians, as well as supply provision.
Commenting on the agreement, Ms. Elizabeth Hoff said:
“This contribution, which comes at a time when funding is critically short for the health sector and humanitarian needs are sharply increasing, demonstrates the commitment of the UAE to support humanitarian response in Syria through a strategic partnership with WHO.” Ms. Hoff added, “When a crisis turns peoples' lives upside down, we count on the strong support of our partners and Member States to alleviate the pain of people in need. This benevolent donation of the UAE will contribute to the provision of prosthetics to hundreds of Syrians directly affected by the conflict.”
The project includes a work plan with a timeframe of activities and risk management strategy. The two partners will also be monitoring and evaluating the results to ensure the effectiveness of the project.