Jenin – For the first time in ten years, Mahmoud Al Ahmad (10) celebrated his birthday without his dad, Khaled, a PRCS emergency medical technician (EMT). Khaled (45), who is busy fighting the spread of COVID-19, has been away from home since March 5 and can only communicate with his family via phone calls and social media.

“Ever since the first Coronavirus cases appeared in Palestine in early March, the Society’s EMS Center in Jenin decided to allocate an EMT and an ambulance for the transportation of suspected cases”, Khaled said.

“Following consultations with my colleagues at the Center, it was decided to task me with that mission. My entire day is spent transporting patients potentially infected with COVID-19, mainly from Israeli checkpoints to quarantine centers or hospitals, but also from homes to testing centers. I also transport healthcare personnel responsible for conducting tests”, he added.

Khaled explained: “so far, in Jenin, there are four confirmed cases and tens of suspected ones. Every day, I transport around ten suspected cases in full coordination with the MoH Preventive Medicine Services. Even though PRCS ensures that all preventive and protective measures are respected, the fact that I deal on a daily basis with this virus makes going home risky for my family. This is why I prefer to talk to them on the phone, or from the sidewalk without entering my house”.

“If there’s anything they need, I leave it outside the door. I couldn’t go home even on my son’s birthday and had to wish him a happy birthday over the phone. I did this to protect him and my family. There are many other EMTs who are on the front line of the COVID-19 fight, and none of them has gone home for so many days now”, Khaled added.

As for Mahmoud, he wasn’t as happy on this particular birthday as he usually is. He sent his dad a video message in which he told him that he understood why he had to stay away and asked everyone else to stay at home so that his dad’s efforts are not in vain.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society
April 28, 2020