Letter to the editor: A way to help Syrian refugees

Elvira Jasarevic (Courtesy photo)
YES! Weekly received the following letter to the editor from Elvira Jasarevic, but given that it refers to a goal that needs to be met by Friday, we're posting it on the blog. We published a letter from Jasarevic in 2006 when she was only 17, and I wrote a column about her work in Bosnia about a year ago. 

"Dear readers,
I know many of you are tired of hearing about the status of Syria and the fighting. You feel like there is nothing you can do to help and the passive listening to the news is draining you, so you change the channel and watch the Game of Thrones, where the killing is fictitious. I know that our society has raised you to believe that one person alone can’t convince the government to end the murdering! I know that we, as individuals, cannot make the war end, but there is something we can do and that is provide the monetary means that will bring medical care to the refugees. 

Fortunately, many of you have not had the opportunity to grow up in a refugee camp, but in the early 90s I was that unfortunate person during the war in Bosnia. I tell you that because it was the time spent in the refugee camp when I, as a little girl, decided that I was going to be a doctor. I saw the health problems that war causes and as citizens of the world we must continue the tradition of fixing the problems a select few in power create. Here is our chance to help ease pains and the good news is that you don’t have to be a doctor to help solve medical problems.

With that being said, I urge you to help me raise $4,500, an estimate from Suzanne Barakat, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill medicine, who is currently the clinic director at a refugee camp in Kilis, 3 to 4km from the Syrian border. The $4,500 will provide one-month worth of most needed supplies to the refugees which includes; Insulin, Diamicron MR, Metformin, Clopidogrel, Aspirin, Ramipril, Neoral, Cellcept, Norethisterone, Allopurinol, Progyluton, Antifungal Antibiotics, Oral Contraceptive, Eyedrops, and Eltroxin. I received these disheartening words from my friend Suzanne today and I hope they move you to donate whatever you can  — $500, $50 or $5. As Suzanne explained to me in an e-mail:

'The clinic was opened by Syrian physicians a little over a year ago, who themselves are refugees, in order to serve the 80,000+ Syrian refugees in Kilis alone. Medical treatment and medications are provided free of charge, as the clinic is supported by two-nonprofits, SEMA and IMC. On a typical day, the clinic sees 400-500 patients. I’ve seen 83 patients in one day. There are no resources available to physicians except their stethoscope, a penlight, a blood pressure cuff, and a glucometer if lancets have not run out. No lab tests. No imaging. All diagnoses based on clinical judgment alone. There is a high threshold to deem a case emergent, and only then will the local state hospital accept them. The most frustrating thing of all is that after you’ve made your diagnosis, and determine the medication required (ie. insulin for glucose greater than 500, antimicrobials for infections), you realize the pharmacy is out of these meds.'

The funds will be used by the clinic director to purchase the medicine in bulk from the local Turkish pharmacies next week. The money will need to be sent in by this Friday, June 14 via Google Wallet or Pay Pal. For more information on how to donate please contact Elvira Jasarevic at Eljasarevic@gmail.comSuzanne Barakat at sbarakat87@gmail.com or Abdul Rahman at azjandali@gmail.com.

With peace and love,
Elvira Jasarevic"

Elvira Jasarevic is originally from Bosnia but grew up in Greensboro. She is currently a medical student at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Georgia.

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