Alone but together.. how Samah and her child, Ali, overcame the COVID-19 hardship
07 March 2022
“What made me feel better is that my WHO colleagues were checking on Ali almost daily. The staff at the facility also took very good care of him,” Samah said
When Samah Abdelaziz and her son Ali first tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2021, she was at least assured that she will accompany her 11-year-old son and will be isolated in the same room. Having no other elders who can take care of the child being positive, and with her husband being outside of the country, staying in at the same isolation room with her son at the UN isolation facility at Hilton Ramses Hotel, guided and managed by WHO Egypt, seemed to be a good and convenient arrangement.
It was not until Samah’s oxygen level dropped and she had to be transferred to a hospital to make a CT (medical imaging) scan, that things took a different turn. Samah was prepared to have the CT scan conducted and go back to her son, but little did she know that she would have to be hospitalized for the following week or so.
Samah describes this time as being very challenging not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. “I have a very special bond with Ali. He is a single child. His father and I are his only source of safety and suddenly he is isolated all alone at the hotel, and I am isolated in the hospital,” she says emotionally.
“What made me feel better is that my colleagues at WHO were checking on him almost daily. The staff at the facility also took very good care of him,” she added.
And, thanks to modern technology, Samah was also able to check on Ali through video calls and video chat applications. The doctors and nurses at the facility also kept Ali company, especially the duty nurse, Mahdy Shawky. Ali even drew a little portrait of Shawky as a thank you gesture by the end of his isolation period.
Since the outbreak of COVID 19, WHO with its all three levels, the Headquarters, the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office and Egypt Country Office have been supporting Egypt in its fight against the pandemic. The support included surveillance and response activities, technical expertise, risk communication and community engagement, procurement, capacity building to healthcare workers, pharmaceutical support, and adverse events following immunization (AEFI) monitoring, besides supporting Egypt in its local production of the COVID 19 vaccine, among other activities. All the while, ensuring that essential health and medical services are not disrupted because of the pandemic.