Health Care in Syria:
"Essential health services have been further disrupted by the exodus of qualified healthcare workers, a 60 per cent drop in local production of pharmaceuticals, and a 50 per cent increase in prices of locally produced pharmaceuticals. Over 640 health care workers have been killed since the crisis started, and medical facilities continue to be attacked. An estimated 58 per cent of public hospitals and 49 per cent of public health centres are either partially functional or closed. In northern parts of Syria, only 36% of health facilities are operating in structures they occupied before the crisis, forcing many health care providers to operate out
of buildings not designed for health service delivery. People with life-threatening chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure, asthma, epilepsy, cancer and cardiovascular illness are at an increased risk of dying or developing complications as access to life- saving medications and care is becoming more difficult. A severe shortage in skilled-birth attendants, including obstetricians, means
that there are major obstacles to providing care to an estimated 300,000 women who are pregnant and need targeted support. Only 10 per cent of primary health care centres provide basic mental health services. The number of people seeking mental health care is increasing, especially those suffering from depression, anxiety, psychosis and stress related conditions. Current estimates indicate 600,000 people are living with severe mental illness in Syria." - UNOCHA
The collapse of the health care system in Syria, across the country, particularly in Syrian-‐opposition controlled areas, demonstrates the absence of a strong governance and strategic planning in addressing the health care crisis in Syria. This is evident by the following:
- Poor strategic planning, with focus on quick responses and short-‐term goals at the expense of working on the development of the health care system
- Unbalanced distribution of medical resources which are often provided based on incomplete, inaccurate or redundant information by supporting organizations
- Poor and / or insufficient health care services to the general public and increase in mortality rates among the population
- Migration of doctors; deepening the health care crisis in the sector
Information is considered the cornerstone of any strategic planning process. Without accurate and systemic source of information, proper assessment and analysis cannot be achieved. In the absence of a single and concrete source of information, medical relief organizations often found themselves facing major challenges, exemplified by the need for accurate and updated information, to operate or plan strategically. Therefore, Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) and physicians Across Continents (PAC), took upon themselves the initiative to conduct a systematic data collection process, in cooperation with other organizations working on ground, including Syrian American Medical Society ( SAMS), Syrian Expatriate Medical Association (SEMA), and local Health Directorates.
The situation in Syria is desperate:
Syria is one of the most complex and dynamic humanitarian crises in the world today. Since March 2011, over a quarter of a million Syrians have been killed and over one million have been injured. 4.8 million Syrians have been forced to leave the country, and 6.5 million are internally displaced, making Syria the largest displacement crisis globally.
In 2016, an estimated 13.5 million people, including 6 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these 4.6 million people are in hard-to-reach areas, including close to 500,000 people in besieged areas.
According to current figures, 11.5 million Syrians require health care, 13.5 million need protection support and 12.1 million require water and sanitation, while 5.7 million children need education support, including 2.7 million who are out of school in Syria and across the region. About 2.48 million people are food insecure, while more than 1.5 million need shelter and household goods.
Syria's development situation has regressed almost by four decades. Four out of five Syrians now live in poverty. Since the crisis began in 2011, life expectancy among Syrians has dropped by more than 20 years, while school attendance has dropped over 50 per cent, with more than 2 million children now out of school. Syria has also seen reversals in all 12 Millennium Development Goal indicators. The Syrian economy has contracted by an estimated 40 per cent since 2011, leading to the majority of Syrians losing their livelihoods.
Humanitarian access to people in need in Syria remains constrained by ongoing conflict, shifting frontline, administrative and bureaucratic hurdles, violence along access routes and general safety and security concerns in contravention of international law, international humanitarian law and human rights law. While the cessation of hostilities, since 27 February 2016, is a welcome improvement and enabled some temporary aid, those in besieged and hard-to-reach areas need regular and sustained assistance.
It is increasingly difficult for Syrians to find safety, including by seeking asylum. These difficulties have resulted in a marked decline in the number of newly arriving registered refugees and in their ability to access international protection.
How UOSSM-Canada is making a difference:
We mobilize support and provide medical care and humanitarian relief to people in Syria who could not otherwise access it.
Through our hospital support, primary health care centres, mobile clinics, psycho-social support services, medical training, and the distribution of medical supplies, we are saving lives and changing them for the better.
How you can help:
Please join us in our efforts by donating, volunteering your time, or simply spreading the word about the work we do.