Adnan al-Jassim survived the bombing of Isis and decided to remain in Syria to help others… Then the pandemic arrived.
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She was struck with trepidation as Dr. Raba al-Sayed looked across the Euphrates River at the home of her family in the eastern Syrian town of Al-Bukamal in Deir ez-Zor: it was November 2017. The family had finally managed to escape the Islamic State, the Syrian army, and the Russian bombing with their husband Adnan al-Jassim and their four children, and were preparing for the next leg of the dangerous journey to Al-Bab in the north of the country under Turkish influence. Jassim, also a physician, had made a return visit to pick up medical equipment that might be useful when they arrived in the north from the nearby makeshift hospital. Then the airstrikes began, “When I saw the plane hit the place where we lived, my heart broke,” Sayed said. “[Jassim] was badly injured and had to have parts of his feet amputated when we arrived in Al-Bab, but within six months he was able to walk again and treat patients. “We wanted to stay in Syria to help others… At Al-Bab, we figured we’d be better.
I could not imagine losing the coronavirus to him. After months of fighting to keep patients with coronavirus alive and prevent the virus from spreading to the vulnerable population, Jassim became the first health worker to die of covid-19 in areas outside the jurisdiction of Bashar al-Assad in Syria in September. When the virus started spreading outside the country last year, an epidemic was expected in northwestern Syria, where 1.1 million people live in tents.
The number of deaths caused by the coronavirus tripled between November and December, according to the U.N. aid agency Ocha. Concerns are high that the number of cases in refugee camps will escalate in another bitter winter as the rest of the world waits for the arrival of coronavirus vaccines. Working as a doctor in Syria was already difficult. The war has made it dangerous to be in your o
And then came the coronavirus,’ says Mustafa Mahmud, M.D., an anesthesiology and critical care colleague who has served in three hospitals alongside Jassim. “Dr. Adnan was a real leader. He organized groups of doctors to help us fight the pandemic, and he tried to raise awareness among the population about hand washing, social behavior and masks…World leaders pushed to make the Covid vaccine available to millions of refugeesRead more “It was very difficult to lose him.
And we’re missing all the lives that he would have saved if he was still here, too. Now, with more beds and hospitals, we’re a little better equipped, but it’s still going to be a rough winter,’ he said. Sayed agrees that a deteriorating health crisis is facing rebel-held Syria.
“She is still recovering from a serious Covid 19 disease, but says the best way to honor the memory of her husband is to continue to care for others. “Adnan was my entire life… To me, my children and his patients, he was a light. That went away unexpectedly,” she says. “He loved helping others. We need to proceed with the task.