Service as a duty: A mother of five serving COVID-19 patients

12 April 2022
Dr. Wafa Amasi, a Palestine refugee doctor at the UNRWA Nuseirat Health Centre, Gaza recounts her experience as a health care professional during the COVID-19 pandemic in Gaza. © 2021 UNRWA photo by Mahmoud Radwan

"I am very proud to be part of the UNRWA health programme and to have a role in providing primary health services to Palestine refugees!" said Wafa Amasi, a Palestine refugee doctor at the UNRWA Nuseirat Health Centre Gaza. She has worked with UNRWA for the last 15 years serving Palestine refugees, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

She recalls how panicked Gazans were by the global and local spread of COVID-19. As a result of the blockade on Gaza, the Strip's public health system was stretched thin and suffered an acute capacity shortage. "The fog of uncertainty spread across Gaza when the Health Ministry reported the first case of COVID-19. The UNRWA Health Programme's role was essential to protecting the community, reducing the infection possibilities and protecting its own health staff.” 

"I worked in the respiratory unit, where I discovered many early stage COVID-19 cases. First, we provided awareness about protection measures and quarantine. Then, based on a patient's symptoms, we provided either medication or referral to governmental hospitals," Dr. Wafa noted.

As a mother of five, Dr. Wafa experienced emotional trauma from the scope of work she undertook during the pandemic and the possibility of exposing her children to the virus. She was reassured by the protective measures UNRWA implemented for its patients and staff. "I was very cautious, especially since I had direct contact with COVID-19 patients on a daily basis. At the health centre, personal protective equipment was always available," she highlighted. 

Thanks to generous funding from the King Salman Center For Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSrelief), UNRWA was able to secure medical equipment and expand its health programme services to manage COVID-19 cases, while simultaneously protecting UNRWA staff and patients.