“I am impressed and inspired how the Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC)  has scaled up and modernized services to respond to many emergencies, including COVID19,” says Dr. Hossam Elsharkaw,  IFRC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). “I was happy to meet ERC dedicated staff and volunteers working to preserve dignity. They are a strong and diverse teams of men and women working in the front lines. They are potentially a pool of expertise that can benefit the whole region and beyond.”

IFRC Regional Director and Ms. Rania Ahmed, Deputy Regional Director visited the Egyptian Red Crescent in Cairo earlier this week to discuss strategic directions, the programmes, the challenges, and the cooperation with the Government and the communities.

The visit included strategic meetings with Dr. Nevine El Kabbaj, Minister of Social Solidarity and Dr. Rami Al Naser, the Director General.

Minister Nevine  El Kabbaj, praised the collaboration with the Egyptian Red Crescent and the role the National Society  has been playing in COVID-19 response. Including interventions in the areas of public awareness and behavioral change campaigns, health clinics, food distributions, mental health and psycho-social support. Dr. El Kabbaj encouraged investing in Mental Health and Psychosocial support  and  expanding the services to support other countries in Africa and beyond.

Dr. Elsharkawi reiterated the role of IFRC in support of ERC and other National Societies in the MENA region, including focused commitment to capacity strengthening, stronger partnership, coordination and resource mobilization.

One of the main highlights of the visit was the Red Crescent Community Center in the area of Zeinhom, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cairo. The center ensures tackling the needs of the public from a holistic approach, providing, health, mental health, child protection, education and income generating opportunities and trainings for women, youth and education of children. “Hundreds of people benefit from Zeinhom center. Great example of how the Egyptian Red Crescent responds to the needs and emphasis the trust and acceptance among the communities. This is trusted access and localization at its core,” Dr. Elsharkawi says.

The team visited as well the blood bank and witnessed the high quality and standards applied to ensure a safe national blood supply.

Dr. Elsharkawi  visited  ERC programs related to health, migration, livelihood and protection: “Red Crescent staff and volunteers efforts go way beyond  the emergency response and disseminating the health messages. ERC is supporting communities, including migrants and refugees with socio-economic and income-generating activities.”

Egyptian Red Crescent is the largest national provider of humanitarian and relief services in Egypt.