Friday - - In the UAE -

Nevein At­talla points to a wash­ing ma­chine-sized red car­ton wrapped in thick plas­tic. ‘Those are what we call sup­ple­men­tary kits,’ says the phar­ma­cist, at the Dubai sup­ply of­fice of the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, paus­ing be­fore a stack of car­tons while show­ing us around the air-con­di­tioned ware­house in Hu­man­i­tar­ian City. Each car­ton con­tains enough sup­plies of med­i­ca­tion in­clud­ing those for gout, some men­tal health con­di­tions and painkillers, to treat 10,000 pa­tients for three months.

‘We cal­cu­lated that it would take roughly three months to put to­gether a kit like this of emer­gency med­i­cal needs,’ says Nevein who has over 19 years of ex­pe­ri­ence as a phar­ma­cist and has also worked at the World Food Pro­gramme in Dubai.

The ware­house stocks hun­dreds of such kits that can be rushed to needy ar­eas at short no­tice. The de­pot stocks a va­ri­ety of hy­giene, med­i­cal and sur­gi­cal kits in­clud­ing ones that have enough sup­plies to con­duct 100 op­er­a­tions and are packed with sup­plies for 10 days of post-op­er­a­tive care for 100 pa­tients. Best of all, the ba­sic med­i­ca­tion kits have medicines and in­jec­tions that can be dis­pensed even by nurses.

The WHO has six such ware­houses across the world in­clud­ing in Malaysia and Panama. The one in Dubai covers 22 coun­tries ‘which in­clude some of the most sen­si­tive re­gions such as Iraq, Syria and Libya,’ says the Egyp­tian, who has also worked at Cairo Univer­sity. In ad­di­tion to be­ing a phar­ma­cist, she is the ware­house in-charge and a lo­gis­tics ex­pert.

The Dubai of­fice ships or air­lifts med­i­cal kits on an av­er­age of once a week. Last year they sent 42 ship­ments to 14 coun­tries worth around $5mil­lion (Dh18.35mil­lion). ‘We are in con­stant con­tact with the coun­try of­fices in the ar­eas un­der our purview.

‘Each of these of­fices have staff who are on site and reg­u­larly eval­u­ate the kind of med­i­ca­tion re­quired. They will mes­sage our re­gional of­fice in Cairo who will then con­tact us and based on their re­quests we im­me­di­ately move nec­es­sary med­i­cal kits,’ says Nevein.

On the day of our visit, a ship­ment of four con­tain­ers of medicines and sur­gi­cal kits left for Syr­ian refugees in Turkey.

‘We also send am­bu­lances, mo­bile power gen­er­a­tors for clin­ics, IT and sup­port sys­tems for staff in the field… how­ever our main con­cern is medicines,’ she says.

The WHO has six such ware­houses in­clud­ing in Malaysia and Panama. The one in Dubai covers 22 coun­tries, in­clud­ing Iraq and Syria

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