DERIK, Syria (North Press) – Patients benefiting from a mobile women’s clinic in northeast Syria’s Derik countryside say that the clinic’s services have saved them the effort and costs of visiting private clinics in the city.
Since October, the Ari mobile women’s clinic continues to provide free medical services to women in the countryside three days a week, with the support of the Free Women’s Foundation.
60-year-old patient Dahia al-Rashid told North Press of her admiration for the project. “They treat patients well. They examined me and gave me medicine for free. They deserve thanks for this project.”
The Free Women’s Foundation has a main center in the city of Qamishli, with sub-centers in the north and eastern regions of Syria, and the foundation aims to open centers in Damascus and Aleppo in the near future, according to members of the foundation.
Nora al-Saleh, who received treatment at the clinic, said, “In the current circumstances, everything has become expensive. People suffer from the cost of travelling and long distances, in addition to the high cost of treatment. The same thing goes for medicine.”
She added that many women have benefited from the mobile clinic by saving the cost of medicine. “Regarding medicine, here they give us the same medicine as in other clinics, but for free.”
Patients say that they are often unable to purchase an entire course of medication due to the continuing high prices of drugs and medical tests.
Al-Saleh pointed out another positive aspect of the clinic, which is the presence of all female staff. According to al-Saleh, the female staff enable women to overcome shyness regarding women’s issues such as gynecological diseases. “There is a great demand for mobile clinics, especially since the doctors are female. Women are more comfortable with women, unlike with a male doctor.”
The mobile clinic team consists of a midwife and a nurse, and also includes a pharmacy and an echocardiogram device to examine patients.
The Free Women’s Foundation targets the needs of women and children in the region, assesses the needs of children and women in every village or town, and provides services such as opening kindergartens or nursing and first aid courses, in addition to training courses for sewing, cosmetics, and computer-based professions.
Safa’ Abdullah, a Free Women’s Foundation member in Derik, said that the idea of the clinic came because of the remoteness of some villages from the city and the high transportation costs.
“We started our mobile clinic for villagers, because villagers can’t afford treatment costs,” Abdullah said.
She added that the checkups and medicines are provided to women for free, as there are families who cannot afford the costs of medicines since the price of one prescription is no less than five thousand Syrian pounds.
The villagers hope that the foundation could start a mobile clinic for children to help the mothers to stay with their children.
However, the foundation says that opening children’s sections depends on the available capabilities, as there are other projects targeting women and children, but their implementation has stopped due to budget restrictions.