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24 March 2023, 15:40

Belarus' medics name biggest challenge during their mission to Syria

MINSK, 24 March (BelTA) – Belarus' Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin has honored military doctors and nurses who were part of the earthquake relief team in Syria, BelTA has learned.

The Belarusian special medical unit left for Syria on 8 February to help victims of devastating earthquakes. Immediately upon arrival, a field hospital was set up in Aleppo. An average of 200 patients showed up at the hospital every day to receive high-quality medical services. The hospital team included surgeons, therapists, anesthesiologists, neurologists, infectious disease specialists and ophthalmologists.

The Syrians sought treatment for various medical conditions: undiagnosed fractures, consequences of chronic injuries, injuries from mines and explosives, bullet and shrapnel wounds. All the patients received the necessary medical assistance in full. Reviewing the results of the mission to Syria, the Defense Ministry noted that more than 3,000 Syrians, including children, received qualified medical care. Over 800 tests were carried out in the laboratory of the field hospital.

According to the head of the medical team, colonel of medical service Andrei Gurinovich, the medics were told about the relief mission three days before the departure to Syria.

“During our work in Syria, we helped more than 3,000 patients. Everyone who reached out to us received help. The biggest challenge was communication. Yet, the Syrian side and our interpreter helped us overcome the language barrier. This mission differed from the previous ones because all members of the special medical unit went on a relief mission to Syria. While the mission in Lebanon, for example, includes individual representatives of the medical unit, a surgical team - two doctors and two nurses,” Andrei Gurinovich said.

Alina Emelianenko, the head of the surgery section of the special medical unit, captain of medical service, said that the trip to Syria was a new experience for her. She had already taken part in humanitarian missions to Lebanon, but the mission to Syria was a totally different experience because the team had to work during aftershocks.

“I have been on two missions to Lebanon. The first one lasted a year, the second one lasted five months. If I compare the mission to Lebanon and the mission to Syria, I would say that the main difference is the language barrier. When we were in Lebanon, we communicated in English. There were interpreters at the UN hospital who helped us. They were permanent full-time interpreters. In Syria, we were helped by some young people with a medical education who acted as interpreters, but it was still difficult,” said Alina Emelianenko.

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