Advancing public health

Advancing public health

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre is tasked with saving and improving lives. In the wake of a global pandemic, the organisation upholds its mission to serve all in need and advance human health worldwide

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre was established in May 2015 to serve as the humanitarian arm of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its mission is to provide and monitor humanitarian aid and relief to those in need outside the Kingdom’s borders. Since its founding, KSrelief has implemented, along with its many aid partners, more than 1,300 humanitarian projects in 53 countries. Among its key areas are health care; food and nutrition; shelter; water, sanitation and hygiene; and support for refugees and internally displaced people. KSrelief also provides rapid response to natural disasters, conflicts and other global crises, meeting the urgent needs faced by children, women and other vulnerable groups throughout the world.

Humanitarian action across all sectors has been affected by COVID-19. The impact of decreased numbers of volunteers and international personnel on the ground in areas of need has been significant. Precautionary measures needed to protect the public from the spread of the pandemic have complicated the process of transporting and delivering aid to targeted beneficiaries. Challenges have arisen in securing and delivering personal protective equipment, medicines, medical equipment and other items needed to fight the virus. Many air, sea and land routes have been interrupted or halted entirely at various times due to travel bans and restrictions within and between countries, delaying life-saving aid to millions.

From the outset, KSrelief has focused on advancing human health worldwide. In the medical sector, it has developed and implemented highly effective healthcare programmes to meet the needs of specific groups. KSrelief’s volunteer medical campaigns, forced to cease operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, have sent teams of surgeons and other healthcare specialists to several countries to provide urgent treatment, including heart surgeries and cardiac catheterisations, eye surgeries and urological procedures for both adults and children. KSrelief also operates hospitals and clinics in Yemen, Syria, Bangladesh and elsewhere to care for refugees, internally displaced people and host community members. It has also conducted relief and public education programmes to halt the spread of such diseases as COVID-19, cholera, malaria and dengue fever.

Assistance in many spheres

KSrelief has provided food assistance through the provision of food baskets and Saudi-grown dates, and supports the operation of community bakeries. It operates feeding clinics for treating malnutrition, and it provides shelter aid for disaster relief sites and camps for internally displaced people and refugees.

KSrelief is active in education, funding the building and renovation of schools in conflict areas, delivering school supplies and equipment, supporting local efforts to keep children in school and implementing training programmes to help breadwinners improve family incomes. It is spearheading community health training and education programmes, including virtual training to control the spread of COVID-19.

With regard to Saudi Arabia’s current humanitarian work, the Kingdom supports the control of COVID-19 and research for the development of effective vaccines. It has donated $150 million to GAVI, $150 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and $200 million to other international non-governmental organisations. Moving forward, we are committed to increasing the efficiency of aid delivery with regard to health safety measures during the pandemic until an effective vaccine is found and applied on a broad scale. This will involve continuing to increase the capacities of local organisations and humanitarian providers at the community level, thus decreasing the need for international staff presence to administer and deliver aid. Also vital is the importance of empowering local non-governmental organisations to help minimise the difficulties and travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

KSrelief’s primary directive from the Kingdom’s leadership is to alleviate suffering and to save and improve lives. In the face of COVID-19 and other global emergencies, we are committed to fulfilling our mission despite all challenges. We will continue to strive to serve all of humanity in any way possible, advancing human health and promoting the peace and well-being of all in need.