WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
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