Women's Centers in the Syria Civil Defense
Women’s centers in the Syria Civil Defense constitute a basic pillar of the mission and humanitarian work of the organization. The Syrian Civil Defense believes in the capabilities of women and seeks to remove obstacles to perform their role in society under conditions of war and peace, and with efficiency. We believe in women's ability to lead, work and succeed.
Women have been the biggest victims of the war waged by the Assad regime and Russia on the Syrians. After 11 years of war, Syrian women are fighting a real battle to preserve societies in light of social and economic conditions. At every moment, Syrian women were on the front lines as pioneers whether it was in education, leadership, or simply surviving a war.
We want to highlight the critical role women hold in our collective mission of saving lives. Without our women volunteers, our organization is incomplete.
Women's Centers in the Syrian Civil Defense
The women’s centers in the Syrian Civil Defense were established in 2017 with the launch of eight centers. We’ve now expanded to 33 women’s centers distributed over the governorates of Aleppo, Idlib, Lattakia countryside and Hama countryside, with more than 260 female volunteers to ensure effective access and direct response to the local communities that are served. This initiative has contributed to building great trust between volunteers and communities and enabled them to have good access and greater ability to provide services. Syria Civil Defense seeks to provide its various services to all segments of Syrian society and of their various affiliations. Thus, the women’s centers in the Syrian Civil Defense constitute a basic pillar of the mission and humanitarian work of the organization.
Here is some of the work our volunteers at the women's centers take on.
Health Care Services
Several factors have contributed to the noticeable increase in the health care services provided by volunteers in northwestern Syria this year compared to previous years, including the systematic destruction of medical centers and hospitals by the regime and Russia, and the necessity of a number of hospitals to specialize in receiving people infected with the Coronavirus.
The care services provided by volunteers are not limited to women’s centers. Volunteers provide health care through periodic tours of the camps, following up on hundreds of cases every month for patients in their homes, especially the elderly and people with special needs.
Women and children constitute the largest proportion of the patients and beneficiaries of the health services provided by the Syrian Civil Defense volunteers inside and outside their centers. During 2021, the teams provided more than 150,000 operations and medical services, directly benefiting more than 130,000 people, including 93,000 women, 29,000 children, and more than 10,000 men.
Types of health care services
1. First Aid:
Bandaging wounds, burns, injuries, and following up on the medical cases of the wounded and those who underwent surgery. This service is very important due to the nature of the war conditions in northwestern Syria and the presence of large numbers of injured as a result of the continued military attacks of the regime and Russia forces on civilian areas, as well as the lack of hospitals in all areas, especially in the southern countryside of Idlib, where Russian warplanes destroyed all the hospitals in the area. Therefore, the presence of volunteers and women’s centers is tantamount to giving the lives of children and women security, stability, solidarity, and a new hope for life.
During the past year, the teams provided more than 55,000 vital signs measurements, 23,000 needle injections for patients, 11,000 wound treatments, about 4,000 burn treatments, more than 3,500 catheter installations, and more than 3,000 first aid.
2. Gynecological examinations and care for pregnant women:
Monitoring the physical health of the pregnant woman is very important, especially in light of the conditions of lack of medical care and the inability of hospitals to receive all cases. During the past year, our teams provided more than 23,000 medical services for women in this aspect, and the need for this service is only expected to increase more this year
Civilians in northwestern Syria are living in difficult economic conditions due to the continuation of the war and the presence of more than two million displaced civilians who have lost their livelihoods, and the largest number of camp residents in which about 1.5 million displaced people live. The rely mainly on food aid provided by organizations. With the decline of the humanitarian response, cases of malnutrition began to appear mainly among children and women, and our teams are working within the capabilities to detect these cases. During the past year, they carried out more than 6,000 measurements of malnutrition, most of which were in the camps of the border strip.
4. Oxygen Sessions:
The need for this service increases dramatically during the winter season when civilians burn harmful materials for heating, such as clothes, nylon, and plastic, especially in the camps, in light of deteriorating living conditions and the inability to secure fuel, causing a cloud of harmful chemicals. As a result, children suffer greatly from bronchiolitis. During the past year, our teams provided about 10,000 oxygen sessions, most of which were for children and the elderly.
5. Follow-up of patients with Renal Insufficiency:
Patients that suffer from kidney that require periodic dialysis operations face challenges in accessing specialized hospitals due to the. Women’s centers spread throughout northwestern Syria help transport many cases by ambulance to dialysis centers and return them to their homes periodically.
During the past year, the teams carried out more than 4,500 transfusions for patients with renal insufficiency, and plans are to expand these services to be more effective and reduce the burden on patients with renal insufficiency by transferring them periodically to the specialized medical centers.
6. Referral to hospitals:
Many of the cases that visit women’s centers need hospitals to follow up on their condition, or because of the seriousness of the cases and their need for intensive care. The volunteers transport patients through coordination with ambulance teams, to hospitals. During the past year, volunteers carried out more than 4,000 transfers of patients to hospitals.
7. The response to Covid:
In light of hospital occupancy and the high risk index with the rapid spread of the Corona virus with its new strain “Delta” at the end of last year, the Syrian Civil Defense volunteers launched a home care initiative for people infected with the Coronavirus as crowded hospitals were no longer able to accept new patients. After the sharp increase in infections in northwestern Syria, the volunteers provided medical care to the infected on a daily basis, including first aid, nebulization sessions, and oximetry.
The Syrian Civil Defense works hard to educate civilians about the dangers of fires and remnants of war, raising awareness on the importance of early warning and security and safety measures, public health, and unexploded ordnance. In addition, our volunteers raise community awareness and encourage social integration through scouting activities and awareness sessions, taking into account the general principles of human rights in order to strengthen a recovering society that rejects violence and shares the duties and rights towards the human being and the environment. Women’s centers and volunteers have a leading role in these operations.
Awareness has a major role in preserving the lives of civilians and contributes greatly to reducing their chances of contracting diseases or exposing them to deadly dangers. During 2021, the Syrian Civil Defense teams provided more than 22,000 awareness sessions on various topics. More than 4,000 of these sessions were to educate on the Coronavirus, 1,565 on first aid, and 1,400 on unexploded ordnance. In addition, thousands of other sessions were held to cover other topics such as ways to prevent leishmaniasis, monitor service, the importance of early detection of breast cancer, home fire prevention, tips for diabetics and many other topics.
The number of beneficiaries of the awareness sessions reached more than 94 thousand, 50% of whom are women and 40% of whom are children.
The volunteers launched several awareness campaigns, including the “Do Not Postpone It” campaign in northwestern Syria, coinciding with (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) or the so-called Pink Month, which begins on October 1 of each year, to remind women of the need to undergo periodic medical examinations for early detection of breast cancer.
The work of volunteers is not limited to these aspects, but rather they participate in rescue operations and help civilians in any possible field. The Syrian Civil Defense seeks to develop the skills of volunteers in all fields and expand the scope of their work to include other important areas that local communities need.
The efforts made by the volunteers are incredibly important in helping to stabilize civilians in northwestern Syria and improve the living conditions and the lack of services increase the needs of civilians. More than 1.5 million displaced civilians live in camps, even those who live in homes are not better off, a large number of the population lives in dangerous areas close to the front lines.
The Syrian Civil Defense believes in the capabilities of women and seeks to remove obstacles to perform their role in society under conditions of war and peace, and with efficiency. We believe in their ability to lead, work and succeed.