Syria: Kafr Nabel Clinic Provides Vital Vaccinations

Rawan al-Junaid, 24, says that she no longer feels she has to worry so much about her baby Amjad’s health. The one-year-old boy has now had all his immunisations at a specialist centre in Kafr Nabel.
“My son will have immunity against various diseases,” his mother said.
Thousands of children who had been denied access to vital immunisations since the beginning of the war are now benefitting from the centre’s provision.
The clinic was inaugurated in early May 2017, under the supervision of the Syria Relief and Development (SRD) organization and in collaboration with the Syria Immunization Team (SIT) and Idlib’s department of health.
Clinic director, Thou el-Fiqar al-Ghazoul, explained that the centre provides new vaccines, such as against TB, that previous mobile campaigns were unable to deliver.
“The immunisation programme at the centre focuses on children from birth to age five and children who haven’t received all their shots until the age of 12, in addition to the immunisation of women aged 15 to 49 against tetanus,” the 31-year-old said.
All routinely-given vaccines are available at the Kfar Nabel healthcare centre, including TB, hepatitis, pentavalent, oral polio, measles, rubella and tetanus.
These vaccines are safe, effective and meet WHO and UNICEF standards. The centre also has a mobile team which travels to more remote villages where no healthcare services are available.
Nearly 2,500 children have been immunised at the Kfar Nabel centre so far, with 300 women also vaccinated against tetanus.
“The turnout has been great; many people come to the centre from nearby villages and towns, including Kansafra, Kafr Oweid, al-Bara, Ihsim, al-Ftireh, Safouhen, Jbala, Maarat Mater, Maarzita, Kafr Rumah, Karsaa, and other villages, in addition to Kafr Nabel’s resident and displaced inhabitants,” said Hamido al-Hamdo, a 29-year-old nurse at the centre.
The clinic has made a huge difference to mothers such as Roweida Shaaban, 27, who previously took her two children to the city of Hamah for their shots, enduring a long journey, hours of waiting and numerous checkpoints.
“Thank God, we now have an immunisation centre, saving me and others in the region the trouble of traveling via dangerous and long roads,” Roweida said.
Um Khaled, 35, is also delighted by the service. To avoid travelling to regime-controlled regions, she had been making the long and exhausting trip to Atme to get vaccines for her sons.
“It is as if a burden was taken off my shoulders, I was always worried about how to get vaccines for my children, and now it has become very easy and accessible to everyone,” Um Khaled said.
The Kfar Nabel centre is one of five SRD supports, with the others located in Maar Tahroma, Jarjnaz, Saraqib and Azmarin.
Obeida Dandoush, the financial manager at SRD, detailed the support the Kafr Nabel clinic was receiving.
“SRD is committed to paying the salaries of the centre’s staff, including directors and nurses, in addition to purchasing power generators and necessary fuel to keep them operational in order to preserve the vaccines,” the 29-year-old said.
“SRD made sure to provide the centre with solar panels to produce enough electrical power around the clock, thus using solar panels during the day and generators during the night,” Dandoush continued. “We maintain the quality of the vaccines, and we provide the centre with the necessary vaccines to prevent shortages, using the refrigerators provided to us by the UN in three centres in Idlib province, the Bab al-Hawa region and central Hass. SRD sends monthly letters to one of these centres to obtain the vaccines that are needed.”
Local doctor Yaman al-Yusuf, 45, said that the centre was providing a desperately-needed service.
“It would have been a disaster for children’s health had they kept missing their shots,” he said. “Their bodies would have been vulnerable to a number of chronic and serious diseases, some of which recently spread in Idlib, including pertussis, hepatitis, and measles. Providing children regularly with the shots they need should completely eradicate these diseases.”