With funding from United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has commenced the execution phase of a project to support life-saving therapeutic and preventive nutrition services in Syria.

In the preliminary phase, staff was hired and trained while target centres were rehabilitated. The project is being co-ordinated with the local authorities and humanitarian organisations operating in the target areas.

A total of 127,000 people will benefit from the project, which covers 15 towns and 24 camps of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northwestern Syria. Those include 16,000 pregnant women and 27,000 young girls and boys.

The purpose of the project is to save lives and reduce health problems and mortality rates among young children, pregnant women and nursing mothers from the most vulnerable groups in the northern part of the country, whether they are IDPs or host communities, QRCS has said in a statement.

It involves screening for mild, moderate and severe malnutrition, providing micronutrients and nutritional supplements, referring the cases to specialised centres for treatment and promoting public awareness about feeding newborns and young kids in emergency and other related topics.

To offer nutritional services, there will be seven centres and two rapid response teams comprising 34 health workers.

This will ensure a broader outreach to the most affected populations in remote and priority areas, the statement notes.

In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, some adjustments were made to the nutritional programmes to minimise the risks of infection while ensuring the continuous provision of life-saving nutritional services.

With regard to health education, interactive and participatory informative techniques are being employed in the project to make it more likely for the target communities to adopt good health and dietary behaviours for a longer time after completion of the project.

All the preventive measures approved by the World Health Organisation are strictly applied. Structural changes were made to the mechanism of community activities for better protection against Covid-19, with a special focus on the communities most prone to the pandemic, such as IDP camps.