Monday, 15 August 2016

Day 1 SAMS Global Response: Arrival

Arrived in Thessaloniki. SAMS Global Response is staying in a hotel just outside the city, near the government camps.

I arrived too late to join any of the clinics, so instead helped out with the day to day admin. The medical and field coordinators are trying to keep accurate records of all the patients who are treated. Finding a system which isn't time consuming and can be quickly taught to new volunteers isn't easy.

Most of the afternoon was spent trying to get excel and Google spreadsheets to communicate, and working out the best way to teach people how to use them. Not very exciting, but necessary.

Clinics finished at 7 and most volunteers were back after then. It's a very international group; medical staff from Britain, Australia, Norway, a few British and Greek nurses, and Syrian and Palestinian translators. Working on the human resources spreadsheet I could see the amazing number of volunteers coming in the months ahead. There are 5 to 10 new volunteers arriving every week, from all over Europe. So all the clinics will be well staffed, and SAMS may be able to cover more camps in the coming months.

Alongside the volunteers SAMS is trying to employ Syrian doctors who are refugees in Greece to work in the clinics; to give them a livelihood, utilise their expertise and knowledge and reduce the dependence on volunteers.

There is lots of work being done to try and empower the refugees in the camps. I'll write more detail about that in the coming days.

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