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Jun 28, 2016

Monthly Program Report - June - Care-A-Van

Dearest Care-A-Van supporters,

We hope that everyone is doing well and doing their best to stay cool during these hot summer days. Another month is in the books for the CARS Program and we have lots to share and report with you all.

Figures: Below, we have included some impact numbers to give you a general sense of the program's statistical relationship to the relief effort:

  • An average of around 422 patients were seen each week with a total of 1,686 patients seen over the course of the month so far. 
  • 512 female patients were seen by female clinicians to receive sexual reproductive health care. 
  • About 150 patients were referred to us by allied organizations in the area.
  • The CARS team has remained around 6-9 people deep throughout the month. 

Health Risks: Here is a list of the common ailments and medical needs our team is facing on the ground:

  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sprain, strains, and joint pain
  • Insect bites
  • Heat stroke + dehydration
  • Complications caused by malnutrition
  • Prenatal health

Programmatic Challenges: Right now, the CARS team faces several challenges. Amongst the largest of these challenges is the intense summer heat, the Ramadan fast, and the closure of EKO camp in mid-June. The closure has forced our team to work elsewhere and while we are still seeing many patients, the team was quite disheartened to see thousands of refugees - many of which they had formed strong bonds with - relocated to disparate parts of the country. Ramadan fasting has    

Ramadan fasting has resulted in a greater risk of heat exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition. This, mixed with an extra hot summer in Greece, has led to heightened levels of health complications for refugees within the camps.

Closing Updates: The CARS team is now working in camps outside of Thessaloniki (the second largest city in Greece) and is currently reaching out to military camps to obtain permanent placement now that EKO is closed.  

As always, thank you all so much for supporting COHI's work and the CARS Program. It is because of your help that we are able to make everything I mentioned above happen. We are quite excited about our upcoming Syrian Midwife Technical Training Workshop coming up on July 11 in Gaziantep, Turkey. We will be posting a lot about it on our social media channels if you wish to learn more. 

If you have any additional questions, please contact Lucas as 

So full of appreciation,

The COHI Team


May 17, 2016

Field Report 05/16/2016

New Ultrasound in use
New Ultrasound in use


Weekly Report from our In-Field Coordinator, Nathan Scott-Johnston. 


"Pharmacy: This week we have had a Pharmacist create a system and do a provisional stock check to remove expired medication and the medications that are restricted in Greece. This system should help pave the way for digitization. I will continue to work with this pharmacist on policies and procedures.

 Ultrasound: We have been able to deploy a portable ultrasound, through an extensive relationship built with a fellow medical actor in Northern Greece. This has proved a great success and was made possible with the help SAMS (Syrian-American Medical Society) providing a highly skilled obstetrician. Specialized staff permitting, we aim to run this service weekly or biweekly.

 Dentists. The dentists have arrived and they are providing amazing care, seeing a vast amount of patients referred by ourselves and MSF. We are also taking referrals from other camps and utilizing their MSF transport .

  1. We are working with actors to review procedures and in some cases create pathways. There is currently a shortfall in safeguarding measures by some actors, we are working on our policies for this and looking into sourcing training on this subject.

 The vaccination campaign of children has started, this has meant an increase in workload with a high number of febrile pediatric patients. They have been given, MMR, PCV, DTP-IPV-Hib-HepB

 Funding. Things are getting very difficult due to lack of funds, No real clarity or timeline has been provided on this despite several emails. There is a high feeling of concern amongst staff regarding the issue of maintaining long-term volunteers." 

May 6, 2016

Care-A-Van Update 05/05/2016

Care-A-Van Women's clinic outside of EKO Camp
Care-A-Van Women's clinic outside of EKO Camp

**The information provided below is mostly provided by Nathan Scott-Johnston, CARS in-field volunteer coordinator**

May 05, 2016 - Care-A-Van Acute Response Service (CARS) Programmatic Update

The CARS team continues to provide health care to refugees in Polykastro and Idomeni, Greece but is mainly stationed at the EKO camp between the two cities. The Care-A-Van vehicle has recently been serviced and is running smoothly!

Within the EKO, the camp's pharmacy has been organized and resupplied. Our partners at Team Katrinos are now searching for a pharmacist to oversee its operations. The goal of filling this position is to digitalize the pharmacy's inventory so that it can be shared electronically with donors and partners. 

Sadly, 3 of Team Katrinos core staff members have left due to a lack of funding. On the other hand, Circle of Health International (COHI) has maternal health volunteers that will be sent to Greece to support the program once they clear the vetting process. We expect this will occur in mid-May.  

The CARS team now has permanent housing accommodations! These spaces will be used for CARS staff and volunteers but have also been used to temporarily support especially vulnerable families before sending them to UNHCR for more thorough levels of protection.   

The EKO camp currently is supporting around 2,000 refugees. There have been reported incidents of violence and aggression but not toward volunteers. Greek authorities have responded by constructing a fence along the central highway along with placing signage informing refugees to relocate to other camps within the interior. These camps may be the next stop for the CARS program.   

COHI has secured a photographer/human rights attorney to work alongside the CARS team during the month of July. Her goal will be to document the team in addition to providing legal advice to all refugees encountered.   

For any more information about the CARS program, email Lucas at  


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