As for most people, Covid-19 remained the defining theme of the year for us. For many, the past two years blur together with all their lockdowns and the less-than-diverse daily pandemic routines. For that reason alone, it’s worth taking an evaluative look at the past year of 2021.
Covid-19 and global inequality
As in 2020, everything was clearly dominated by the global pandemic and its inequalities: While the rich industrialized countries are already discussing the fourth vaccination, a large part of the world’s population is still not or only insufficiently protected. Even masks and tests that we now take for granted, are still scarce commodities or unaffordable for the general world population. Not to mention the equipment needed for comprehensive treatment. In 2021, we did our utmost to address these inequities.
CADUS in Northeast Syria
In January, we continued local production and free distribution of masks to the people of northeastern Syria. Sanctions are making it much more difficult to import masks into the region, while inflation is turning existing mouth and nose coverings into luxury items. Thanks to our donors, we were able to produce a total of 12,500 masks in 2020 and 2021, while simultaneously providing income to local seamstresses.
A patient ward in the field hospital in al Hol Camp. Photo: Carolin Lebek / CADUS
Camp al-Hol – a unique challenge
A consistently large part of our work continues to be the field hospital and operation desk we have established in al-Hol, northeastern Syria. The more than tense security situation in the camp is exacerbated by Covid-19 and the stresses it brings. In addition, supply shortages of oxygen and tests make it almost impossible to combat the virus effectively.
During the summer, we also had to worry about the water supply for our patients in the field hospital. In the entire region, the groundwater level had dropped so much due to a drought that several pumping stations were no longer functioning.
A condition that will worsen in the coming years and increase tensions in northeastern Syria. The long-term water supply of our hospital will be an important task for us in 2022.
New projects in Iraq
In August we were pleased to welcome Muhammed to our team. With his help we will expand our activities in Iraq again and started a new project directly. In the teaching hospital Ibn Sina in Mossul we are working together with the organization Viyan to offer training for infection prevention. Not only, but especially because of Corona, this is a particularly important topic for future doctors and nurses. Until the end of the project we would like to offer 90 trainings and educate 1200 people.
„Shadowing“ in Papua New Guinea
In December, a CADUS team went on a similar mission to Papua New Guinea. The country had previously requested international assistance in combating the pandemic. Over the course of three weeks, the nine medics shared their experience with Corona and Covid-19 treatment with their local health colleagues. “Shadowing” in this context refers to a low-key observation and monitoring of work processes. These are then jointly evaluated and improved. However, for all the progress made, it also became clear where the team’s limitations lie.
Read more in our blog
During our mission in Papua New Guinea workshops about special medical equipment were held. Photo: Lotte Heinl /CADUS
On our own doorstep
Redistribution was our keyword for a large donation of 1.5 million medical masks that we received over the course of last year. We divided these up across Europe among various smaller organizations working to protect the rights and care of refugees at European borders. This allowed us to ensure that the masks arrived exactly where they were needed.
At Millerntor-Stadium, the arena of the football club St. Pauli in Hamburg we distributed the 1.5 million masks to different routes on their way to Europes outer borders. Photo: Carolin Lebek/CADUS
We also supported local initiatives on the Polish-Belarusian border with relief supplies.
We had been watching the developments there with concern for a long time. Hundreds of refugees in winter, as political leverage in a military exclusion zone – ingredients for a humanitarian disaster.
Finally, we sent a small team with additional equipment to the border region over the Christmas days to assist with medical care for the fleeing people.
Shortly before the end of the year, we ended our mission for the time being, as hardly any more people made it across the borders. However, local groups remain active.
Continuing to Redefine Global Solidarity in 2022
The need for cross-border solidarity is not only evident in the moral failure of the EU when it relies on deterrence in border policy and refuses to meet refugees with humanity. It has also become clear in the global pandemic. We noticed it again and again in our work last year. Too often, there is a lack of oxygen, tests, vaccines and protective equipment to protect the population and treat patients effectively. Meanwhile, social inequality is increasing worldwide and societal tensions are rising.
Alpha, Delta, Omicron and so on – the list of variants is also a sign that the pandemic can only be solved globally. Together. In solidarity.
That’s what we’re running for again in 2022 and hope for your support!