AMMAN: Selfless Saudi medical experts have given up Ramadan time with their families to volunteer their specialist help at the world’s largest camp for Syrian refugees.
A group of 15 young doctors from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) traveled to Jordan to offer their time, knowledge, and expertise at the sprawling Zaatari settlement.
As part of the “Our Brothers” aid initiative, the team members opted to spend this important time of the Islamic year dedicated to the service of people in need.
Instead of joining their families at home for the run-up to Ramadan, the specialists have been busy working in KSRelief’s hospital clinics at the giant camp, located near the city of Al-Mafraq, which is about 80 km north of Jordan’s capital Amman.
It was the fourth medical trip run by KSRelief to the Zaatari camp, with the latest group of volunteers covering dentistry, dermatology, psychiatry, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
Other specialist services offered at the hospital include general medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology.
A fully equipped test laboratory is also situated on the site.
Each day, the Saudi doctors have examined hundreds of patients living at the camp, which houses around 80,000 people. All the residents of Zaatari are allowed free access to the camp hospital’s medical services, visits, consultations, medication, and surgical facilities.
Amna Whaishi, a nutritionist on her third trip to Zataari, said: “Volunteering gives me joy when I see people smiling. Once I get that pure feeling, I feel like I want to give more and more and more.”
Dermatology specialist, Dr. Mushari Al-Khalidi, said: “This has been a trip unlike any other I’ve participated in. It truly reflects the high level of detailed logistics, organization, and supervision done by the Saudi government to support the Syrian people.
This trip is a great addition to my medical experience, and I’ve dealt with rare and special cases that I have only seen here at the camp.”
The medics have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of gratitude from the refugee patients. “This is our duty, it’s the least we can do for our brothers and sisters from Syria, and we would all do more if we could,” added Al-Khalidi.
Injuries of war
As well as treating many conditions not only rare to the region but the world too, Al-Khalidi also witnessed some of the terrible injuries of war, including one young man who lost most of the skin off his back as a result of an explosion.
He is now receiving daily treatment for his wounds at the KSRelief hospital.
Physical therapist Dr. Mohammed Al-Qahtani told Arab News about a case he dealt with. A mother had waited for hours outside the psychiatric clinic hoping for her three disabled children to be seen.
But when Al-Qahtani saw her, he realized she was suffering from stress and needed medical care herself.
He said sometimes stress made people forget about themselves when they were busy caring for others, and as the woman spoke it emerged that she was a mother of 11.
The dentistry team which traveled from the Kingdom was made up of a group of friends. Doctors Eyad Alduwayghiri, Omar Alkasir, Yasir Alyahya, Abdul Aziz Al-Rebdi, Abdullah Al-Jabr, Ahmad Al-Bahoth, and Turki Al-Mutairi, all volunteered for the opportunity to join up with KSRelief.
In a joint statement, the team said: “We all studied together, we work together, and our friendship literally brings us here together to help others.”
The dentists ran three clinics and screened more than 700 patients during the week of their visit. They also put on workshops for students from KSRelief’s school and training center, teaching them how to maintain oral hygiene.
The team of physical therapists included Abdulrahman Al-Qahtani and Dr. Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, both in Zaatari for their third time, and Shahad Hamdan. Reflecting on his visits to the camp, Al-Qahtani said: “We rise by lifting others.”
Hamdan, the youngest member of the team, was just grateful for the experience, and said: “I feel blessed to have such an opportunity to serve the Syrian beneficiaries along with the center and the rest of the medical team.”
Heading the latest medical mission was KSRelief volunteer programs specialist Shams Ibrahim Al-Saby.
As well as providing encouragement to members of the delegation, she also engages with patients at the hospital.
Al-Saby can be seen helping in clinics, sitting down to chat with patients as they wait for consultations, and playing with children, while all the time still working to manage the team logistically and professionally.
KSRelief is the Kingdom’s official platform for Saudis to volunteer internationally. Through its portal, anyone interested in volunteering can register online based on their fields of work, study, and/or interest.
The center has different sectors of service and volunteering and is mainly focused on the medical sector.