Sixty-five-year-old Mohammad Abu Libdah, his wife Amal, and their four children live in a small house in An Nuseirat area of the Gaza Strip. They are unemployed. Muhammad is diabetic and has high blood pressure. The family depends on relatives and aid associations to cover their living costs.
In February 2021, Mohammad tested positive for COVID-19 and developed moderate symptoms, including dry cough, fever, and joint pains. When Mohammad’s situation further deteriorated, Amal reached out to the Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC), asking for help.
With the support of the occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund (oPt HF), UHWC staff immediately provided first aid services to Mohammad, whose oxygen saturation was low. They then arranged for Mohammad to be transferred by ambulance to one of Gaza’s governmental hospitals, following which they kept Amal informed through daily phone calls.
Mohammad’s physical illness was compounded by anxiety about dying and encountering the negative stigma associated with COVID-19, as many in his community stay away of people who have had the virus even after they are fully recovered. To tackle this, UHWC provided him with psychological support over the phone, where he released stress and improved over time.
The help offered to Mohammad and his family was part of a larger project, supported by the oPt HF, aiming to contribute to confronting COVID-19 in the middle and southern Gaza Strip. In this context, some 5,000 people with COVID-19 and their families received home-visits, health follow-ups, isolation kits and awareness brochures.
“A million thanks go to the frontline health workers,” said Mohammad. “I am grateful to all those who risk their lives to save others. Thanks to their quick response, I am now in good health and back with my family.”
Mohammad added: “The team visited me not only when I had the virus, but also when I was discharged from hospital, to make sure everything is okay. Without their help, my life might have been threatened.”