With the conflict now entering its seventh year, the medical needs in Syria are bigger than ever. It's now estimated that 12.8 million Syrians are in need of medical assistance. Last year, that figure came to 11.5 million.
12.8 million Syrians are in need of medical assistance.
"Since the fall of Aleppo in December 2016, one gets the feeling the international community has once again decided to ignore Syria. But the drama continues: the civilian population continues to suffer horrendous physical and psychological trauma" notes an angry Françoise Sivignon, President of Doctors of the World France.
Attacks against healthcare facilities: a sad record
Over half of the health centres and hospitals existing in Syria before the outbreak of the conflict are no longer fully operational. Deliberate attacks on healthcare facilities have reached unprecedented levels in the last year of the conflict, with 338 confirmed reports of attacks in 2016 alone.
In 2016, six medical units supported by Doctors of the World were targeted, causing the deaths of 53 patients and 15 health workers.
The collapse of the healthcare system
Syria's healthcare facilities lack everything: equipment, medicines, personnel. The facilities still in operation are faced with recurrent power outages, and only 12% of them have emergency generators enabling minimum service to be provided. Medical supplies and drugs are difficult to come by, especially in besieged zones. More than one Syrian health worker in two has fled the country. In the absence of training opportunities, the non-renewal of medical personnel has serious consequences which will persist for years after the conflict has finished.
Ore than one Syrian health worker in two has fled the country.
"We must salute the courage of those who risk their lives to bring help to the Syrian people. Violations of international law are now commonplace, and impunity the norm," declares Françoise Sivignon.
Doctors of the World is appealing to the members of the United Nations Security Council and the countries involved in the peace talks to:
- Implement a credible mechanism for monitoring ceasefires to put an end to the bombardment of the civilian population.
- Guarantee safe and unobstructed humanitarian access to the populations affected by the conflict in Syria.
- Conduct a credible and transparent inquiry to establish responsibility for the violations of international humanitarian law and international law on human rights committed in Syria since March 2011.
- Involve representatives of the Syrian civil society in international discussions.
In Syria, Doctors of the World has set up up fixed and mobile clinics in response to the lack of medical infrastructure in the north of the country and to offer primary and reproductive healthcare to the population of the Governorate of Idlib. The organisation is also providing assistance to the health centres and hospitals still in operation in in the Governorates of Aleppo, Idlib and Deraa, providing the medicines, equipment and supplies which are severely lacking in these times of war.