“Among the many praiseworthy initiatives that you have promoted, this year I would like to mention the great work to support the return of the Christian communities to the plain of Nineveh, in Iraq, and the healthcare offered to many poor people in Syria, in particular through the project Open Hospitals". With these words, Pope Francis praised AVSI’s Open Hospitals project during his opening speech at this year’s meeting to discuss the crisis in Syria and Iraq.
Open Hospitals was born as a concrete answer to the healthcare crisis in Syria after seven years of war, through the initiative of Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Syria and the support of the Holy See. AVSI designed the intervention and is in charge of the procurement of the financial resources and of the overall management of the project in partnership with the participating facilities. In fact the main objective is to restore three hospitals in Syria - the Italian hospital and the French hospital in Damascus and St. Louis hospital in Aleppo – to full functionality, with the focus on ensuring access to hospital care, free of charge, for the poorest and most vulnerable.
UNICEF and other partners met in Roraima in August 2018 to discuss Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) needs of Venezuelan immigrants currently seeking shelter in Brazil’s northernmost state.
Government and non-government agencies alongside UN representatives discussed the major problems related to water, sanitation and hygiene conditions inside community housing and received instruction from Martin Ede, a specialist in the area.
Ede, Emergency Wash specialist working with the NGO Canadem, one of UNICEF partners, explained that access to drinking water is not a problem for the Venezuelan community living in shelters in Roraima. The main issue is good practices of hygiene and sanitation.
During the meeting, all the actors working in the refugee reception centers discussed their daily challenges. They raised concern about the disposal of waste food and trash, disease dissemination among children and the lack of a functional sewage system.
“As a result of today’s meeting, we will put together a list of priorities,” said Ede. “We will know where to work in the areas of hygiene and sanitation to generate better impact with more efficiency and a lower cost”.
The solutions to be proposed will be based on the effective actions that are already being carried out in shelters and that respect the characteristics of the migrant population and geographical ties of Roraima. These points were also raised during the meeting.
As a result of the meeting, a report containing the problems and solutions will be presented to all partners. The next step is to put into practice the actions.
"As we are working with different partners, we hope to be able to mobilize the resources needed to cope with the problems. But there is still a long way to go before reaching the goal. This is just the beginning of the process," explained Ede.
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