I am Dr Siyana Shaffi, founder of Kitrinos Healthcare and a mother of five. I began my career in humanitarian medicine in 2015 during the peak of the refugees crisis in Lesvos.
Kitrinos Healthcare became a UK registered medical charity in 2017 (charity no. 1172586). Our mission is “the relief of sickness and the preservation of health among refugees by providing healthcare services to those in need”.
With the help of our volunteers, our work has grown over the years, and we now have a dedicated team of trained medical volunteers and staff working in several camps across Northern Greece and a ‘hot-spot’ camp on the island of Leros. Over the years our clinical volunteer database has grown, with almost 800 doctors and nurses willing to care for these patients.
Having returned from the camps again only a few days ago, my heart is heavy with more tales of sadness and despondency. My cheeks are still wet with tears of the women I cried with, my hands still warm from their earnest grips of hope, knowing that I made a promise to them. A promise that if nothing else, I would at least share their messages with you. A promise that I would not forget to tell their tales and remind our community of their stagnant realities.
Amongst our caseload are many vulnerable children with disabilities, pregnant women, elderly men and women, cancer sufferers, victims of torture and the consequent post-traumatic stress, depression and even psychotic illnesses. Many - sometime whole families - suffer with kidney stones due to drinking water contaminated with unhealthy minerals from many years of destroyed infrastructure.
Last weekend, I met Muhammad, a 21 year old man, blinded from shrapnel lodged in his brain. His father, Mahmoud had to choose between him and his mother and sisters. He left his family behind in Syria and has no contact with them, his faith firm that God would take care of them. I met Khaled, a man with a poorly healing mine injury on his leg who goes without painkillers in favour of ensuring his 8 month old baby has a regular supply of milk and nappies. He lives in a school building that was being used as a communal squat, yet he had been rejected from the asylum services.
Many charities such as the Red Cross and Save the Children are leaving Greece to provide care in other world crises. While refugees in Greece remain stuck in squalid camps without access to adequate care, Kitrinos Healthcare intends to stay. We feel we have a responsibility and a duty of care to those who are less fortunate, and we are passionate about continuing to provide healthcare to those who are helplessly caught up in this humanitarian crisis. However, we are a small charity with limited funding, and we cannot do this alone. We function on a fraction of the budget compared with larger charities. Now more than ever, we need your help.
We have just started working in Nea Kavala camp, near Polykastro, a small town 20km away from the Macedonian border, home to over 400 (mainly Syrian) refugees.
What we aim to do with your support:
We aim to initially raise £15,000 to fund startup costs (clinic set-up & infrastructure, transportation, medical care & supplies and providing cultural mediators). If we exceed this target, we will use the excess to fund our running costs for Nea Kavala and other camps we work in, including Leros Island hotspot camp, and potentially Scaramangas camp, where 3000 people face the possibility of living without medical services.
Our work has always been supported by a responsive community network. However, as our organisation continues to grow, so does our need for further support. Your contribution, however small, is much appreciated. You can be assured that it will have a significant and direct impact on our work on the ground.
What your money could contribute to:
£2 can buy an inhaler to save aan asthma attack
£5 can live a lifesaving course of antibiotics!
£120 Medical Examinations kit
This is a kit to supply the bare minimum medical equipment for our volunteers to diagnose
and treat the refugees.
£25 blood pressure monitor,
£30 pulse oximeter.
£5 oral thermometer,
£50 “Incontinence Pack”
This will provide incontinence and enuresis sufferers an opportunity to live in a hygienic and dignified way.
Contains: Disposable wipes & pads for three months, underwear and detergent.
£55 New Mum & Baby Kit
This is a pack for a refugee mum and her newborn baby and will contain essential items such as newborn diapers, baby clothes, sanitary towels, new underwear, nipple cream and breast pads. It is sad reality that many pregnant women cannot afford these newborn essentials,
Contains: diapers, wipes, baby blankets/clothes, breast pads, maternity towels and underwear
£100 “Breast is Best Kit”
We prefer to promote natural and hygienic breast milk, especially in the camps but unfortunately- due to illness or exhaustion some new mum’s need more than encouragement.
Contains: Electric breast pump, pack of sterile bottles, breast pads and nipple cream.
Feel free to visit our website: https://www.kitrinoshealthcare.com/
Thank you so much for your help. Please share this around to spread the word!