'Good organisation, government support key to Mekaines quarantine success'
July 13 2020 11:23 PM
Mekaines workers’ quarantine facility
Since late March, QRCS has been operating the Mekaines quarantine and isolation facility in close co-operation with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

Ahmed Ismail al-Zyarah, head of Qatar Red Crescent Society’s (QRCS) ninth Disaster Management Camp (DMC-9) and former head of general services at the Mekaines workers’ quarantine facility, has said the worst is over in the fight against Covid-19.
“Work in Mekaines is going on perfectly thanks to the applied mechanism, the spirit of dedication among the medical and services personnel, and the nonstop support from the government and the private sector,” he said.

Ahmed Ismail al-Zyarah

Since late March, QRCS has been operating the Mekaines quarantine and isolation facility in close co-operation with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
Under the supervision of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management, the facility receives expatriate workers infected with Covid-19. They are given medical services, accommodation and psychological support until they have recovered and can resume their normal lives.
In a statement, al-Zyarah said: “At first, I was assigned to work with the Medical Affairs Division on the operation of the Mekaines quarantine facility. Me and my team undertook the provision of general services, including security, catering, cleaning and discharge. It was the Medical Affairs that prepared lists of those recovered, while we made all arrangements to discharge and transport (them) to their homes.
“We began by creating teams to cover all the aspects related to the stay of the patients at Mekaines. The food team was divided into groups, each responsible for specific blocks. Over time, the technique of food distribution improved.

Snapshots from the Mekaines workers’ quarantine facility

“As for cleaning, there had been a shortage in the number of garbage trucks available compared to the big number of inmates — around 11,000 people at that time. We took the decisive move of contracting cleaning services companies and securing more trucks and individuals.
“Back then, the main operational strategy at Mekaines was to identify and address the gaps, providing all the needed vehicles and staff in a timely manner. The biggest challenge was the transformation from quarantine for suspected cases and close contacts into isolation for positive cases. This required a restructure of the whole work, particularly in the access of staff and vehicles to the accommodation areas (Red Zone).
“We pursued the setting and implementation of our action plans. Issues were identified and resolved, with active participation from everyone. With the help of the Medical Affairs, we secured new contracts as an immediate solution to increase the number of garbage trucks. We made sure that all the cleaning workers were using personal protective equipment (PPE) when accessing the Red Zone.
“The holy month of Ramadan saw a hugely extra workload. Every day, we removed 600-700 tonnes of waste. After Ramadan, the average volume was 300-500 tonnes per day. It was a big challenge that we could handle by virtue of the well-organised groups and allocation to the blocks.
“The same applied to catering. It started with 70,000 meals per day, going down to 50,000, and currently 30,000. In Ramadan, there were four meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner and Suhoor. After Ramadan, there were three meals, with a total of 32,000-40,000 per day. We adopted a smooth and facilitated technique of distribution.
“As regards discharge, each patient had to complete three weeks in isolation, being subject to several regular swabs. Then, the protocol was changed by the MoPH and competent committees. After 10 days of having the disease, the patients are no longer infectious - and they can be allowed to go home after 14 days. The recovered patients are given all the necessary documents and transported to their homes by buses.
“Co-ordination was crucial among the teams in the field. The team leaders hold meetings on a regular basis or when needed to co-ordinate the workflow. In particular, the cleaning and catering teams have interrelated day-to-day activities. Apart from constant follow-up and guidance, we made regular tours of the blocks to make sure everything was going on well.
“I would like to thank the sports federations that donated sports equipment for the guests, like table tennis and basketball. The Qatar Cyclists Centre donated bikes for the supervisors, and Aspire Zone gave us golf carts to facilitate movement among the blocks. I also thank the Ministry of Municipality and Environment for providing garbage trucks, as well as all the organisations that contributed to this national mission,” he concluded.

Last updated: July 13 2020 11:27 PM

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