Coronavirus in Bethlehem: remote assistance for patients of the Emergency centre

Giacomo Pizzi18 March 2020

Naila Nasser, social worker of the Association Pro Terra Sancta in Bethlehem, continues her work even during this critical moment, at least for the most urgent cases.

Naila Nasser is the head of the emergency medical and listening center activated in Bethlehem by the Association Pro Terra Santa, a center of help and financial support to deal with a health emergency that existed in Bethlehem even before the epidemic arrived. The fearsome coronavirus has crept into an already critical and difficult context such as that of Bethlehem and the whole area of ​​the West Bank. For this reason, the Assistance Center cannot stop: even if Naila cannot physically go to work, an emergency number has been activated.

Since 9 March, the confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Bethlehem have risen to 38. The police turn the streets and forbid anyone to go out except in exceptional cases of great need. “The streets are deserted, a ghostly silence reigns,” Naila tells us. She tells us that the inhabitants are afraid of getting sick, but she is confident that if everyone follows the indications given by doctors and authorities, the virus will have less chance of spreading.

Naila tries to do her job regularly from home. “This morning the case of a patient who needed an open heart surgery was presented,” he explains. He had no insurance and could not afford the operation. ” She got in touch with the other subjects involved in the medical aid with which Associatione Pro Terra Sancta collaborates frequently and managed to recover the sum necessary to pay for the operation. The man in his sixties, the father of three children, was operated on in the Beit Jala hospital. “We managed to coordinate, working all from home,” she says satisfied, happy to be able to help help her fellow citizens in a very difficult time. The other institutional entities that continuously work with Naila are Caritas Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarchate and the Pontifical Mission, the Daughters of Charity and the Caritas Baby Hospital Bethlehem.

Unfortunately, due to the blockade, Naila cannot carry out home visits which she and her colleague Muna Salman carried out to check if a family could be eligible to receive the subsidy for the “Water” project or for the “Houses” project. “These two projects are currently suspended” – explains Vincenzo Bellomo, head of the Pro Terra Sancta Association office in Bethlehem, – but we plan to resume, as soon as the situation returns to normal “. Bethlehem will need a lot of help to get up and start again.

In a normal situation the Naila office is open to the public twice a week not only to provide financial aid, but with the function of a real listening center. He explains to us that, very often, “having a safe place where you can talk about your problems is already a great help”. Having gained the trust of citizens with his professionalism and his ten-year work, Naila continues with telephone consultations.