Ruba is one of four volunteers working at the reception of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) clinic in Rural Jaramana. She has been a Red Crescent volunteer for 10 years. The clinic is in an area that has many internally displaced people. Ruba and her team take care of 46,000 patient records, and help to triage people as they arrive.
“When I first came to work for SARC 10 years ago, it was to help Iraqi refugees. I would cry about each case. And then it began for Syria. This is hard to see, these people are my neighbours, they are my people.
“We are very busy all the time. My day starts early, I rise at 6 am to get the children ready for school. When we arrive at 8:15 am people are already queueing outside. At 8:45 am we open and process people. We get their records ready for colleagues, and we begin to call out names and direct people to clinics. Sometimes we do this in batches of five people to keep the flow of patients going.
“There are a lot of people and lot of pressure, we spend all day talking to people. The clinics sees 400 people a day, but many more come and sometimes we have to turn them away or try to find another solution. When the end of the shift comes it is stressful because I can’t help everyone, but I always try my best. For urgent cases, we try to find another clinic or an ambulance for emergencies. And we tell them to come early the next day.
“I feel good because I can help people, we see many children, older people. I’m happy when patients feel good and we have helped them. Most people worry they have to pay, and when they realise they don’t they are so relieved. This clinic makes a big, big difference.”
Before the crisis, Jaramana had a population of around half a million. Now, due to the number of displaced people living here, that number is 2 million. This SARC clinic, supported by IFRC, offers a wide range of facilities, including paediatrics, a dentist, urologist, gynaecology and a pharmacy.