Author: Wisconsin Muslim Journal

Photo Essay: SAMS volunteers bring urgent medical services to war weary

For the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) trip in November, photographers documented each day of the mission. At the SAMS Mental Health Center in Anjar, one young speech therapy patient had a special interest in the photographer’s camera. For Mazen, the camera was not just a tool, it represented his best friend. The boy used to take phone pictures for his family every day. Mazen’s interest in medicine and fascination with photography was captured in images, as were the faces and situations of others. Those snapshots recorded very special moments in time, not epic events but slices of everyday...

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Video from Lebanon: Wisconsin doctors share their experience helping refugees

Dr. Najeeb and Dr. Katib from Wisconsin joined the November Medical Mission to Lebanon, organized by the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), to alleviate the suffering of hundreds of Syrian refugees who escaped the nearly decade-long civil war in their homeland. Photographers travelled with the SAMS volunteers, interviewing members of the medical team, patients, and highlights from the trip. The Wisconsin Muslim Journal edited that footage into a video that features the contributions made by Wisconsin doctors. “Although I felt compassion and I was happy that I was able to travel and help, I was also overwhelmed by the...

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Volunteer medical services provide Syrian refugees with needed chronic care

Chronic care is beyond the capacity of many nonprofit health organizations, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) due to high costs and limited funding. Most organizations are limited to providing basic primary care for Syrian refugees. However, 83% of Syrian refugee households in Lebanon report at least one family member is living with a chronic condition. The cost of care is prohibitively high for refugee families in particular. An annual Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees (VASyR) found that over three quarters of Syrian refugees in Lebanon live on less than USD $4 a day....

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Wisconsin doctors join medical volunteers treating Syrian refugees in Lebanon

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) began its November Medical Mission to Lebanon with stops in Tripoli, the Beka’a Valley, and at Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut. For this trip, 10 volunteers from Lebanon and 15 from the United States were able to provide pulmonary, cardio, psychosocial, and other vital health services to 983 patients. Hundreds of the beneficiaries were children, including cornea transplants for two patients. This was also the first time that SAMS was able to include speech therapist services, to work with patients who received hearing aids during the SAMS mission in October. Over one...

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Attacks on health care in Syria add to ongoing social devastation

Attacks on medical facilities are a violation of international humanitarian law, but that has not deterred armed forces from systematically and deliberately attacking health centers in Syria. Between 2011 and 2017, there were 492 attacks on healthcare in Syria, killing 847 medical personnel. From January to July 2018, another 119 attacks were recorded, mostly affecting East Ghouta, eastern Aleppo, Dara’a, and Idlib. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 70% of total worldwide attacks on health care facilities, ambulances, services and personnel have occurred within Syria. Many facilities are targeted multiple times; SAMS-supported Kafr Zita Specialty Hospital in Hama...

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After surviving the civil war, Syrian refugees suffer devastating trauma

The psychosocial impacts of being a refugee are so widespread, they have reached epidemic proportions. But recognition or aid for those problems still fail to get the same resources as physical epidemics do, such as viral diseases. There is no system in place to give Syrians and other refugees in need of mental health care the treatment they need. As a result, the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) is dedicated to providing continued, ongoing care to meet the long-term needs of those affected. SAMS supports psychosocial programming inside Syria and in neighboring countries that facilitates therapeutic healing strategies and...

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