• Saturday, May 18, 2024 at 11:53 AM
    Last Update : Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at 5:35 AM

Concerns About Stalled International Support for 112 Health Facilities in Northwestern Syria

(AWP) - When his son fractured a bone, Abdel-Rahman Abu Mohamed, a Syrian man, took him 50 kilometers away to to the al-Rahma Hospital in Darkush district, Idlib province, which offers free services to a large number of people in villages and displacement camps in northwestern Syria.

However, patients will have to travel longer distances as international organizations begin to withdraw support for the al-Rahma hospital and others like it, which will cause them to reduce services or close altogether.

“We have heard news that support for the al-Rahma Hospital will be withdrawn or reduced. This is going to harm us as families. We cannot afford treatment costs. If I took my son to Sarmada or Bab al-Haw, it would cost me 2,000 or 3,000 Turkish liras, a sum I cannot afford,”said Abu Mohamed.

The news was confirmed by Ahmed Ghandour, a surgeon and chief physician at al-Rahma Hospital, who said he had received a notification from the Syrian Expatriate Medical Association (SEMA) late last month, stating that it would stop supporting the hospital due to lack of funding from the World Health Organization (WHO). He added that several hospitals in the area had already terminated services.

Al-Rahma Hospital is one of the most important health centers in northwestern Syria. It services the villages and displacement camps that stretch along the Syrian coast until the Jisr al-Shoghour, Salqin and Harim areas, with a total population of more than 700,000 people, most of them displaced.

Doctor Ghandour indicated that the hospital receives more than 20,000 people on a monthly basis, noting that the services it provides include ambulances, surgeries in all specializations, intensive care units, kidney dialysis, radiology endoscopy, laboratory and a pharmacy that provides free medicine.

“The material we have is about to run out. If the necessary support is not available for two or three weeks at the most, the hospital will completely stop,” he said.

“That will have serious health repercussions. The hospital does not function solely because of its medical crews. It also needs diesel, electricity and pharmaceuticals.”

Mohamed Ghazal, an official in charge of research and development at the Idlib Health Department, spoke of a contingency plan to prepare for the withdrawal of support, which would entail merging some facilities and moving others.

“Support for 112 health facilities will cease, which could cause a disaster in northwestern Syria. More than 1.5 million will be affected, and will have difficulties getting access to health services,” he warned.

“One of the main reasons for cessation of support was that most donors have channeled their funding to other countries in the region where there are conflicts,” he pointed out.