Syria needs new international partnerships to advance healthcare |
online meeting was held ahead of next week’s European Union conference to ensure continued international support for Syria and neighboring countries hosting millions of Syrian refugees.
11 years of suffering and a humanitarian crisis experienced by more than 15 million of our compatriots in Syria, growing day by day, with no end in sight.
Watch the performance recording @DrAkjemal 👇🏼👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/meefXMniWd
— WHO Syria (@WHOSyria) May 6, 2022
The needs inside Syria are overwhelming. According to emergency appeal launched by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Problems in the provision of medical care
“Providing healthcare services to those who need them most remains an enormous challenge; not only because of COVID-19 pandemic, but also because more than half of medical institutions have closed or are partially functioning,” said Dr. Akjamal Makhtumova, the agency’s representative in Syria.
WHO held a virtual meeting with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said keeping Syria on the global agenda could be challenging given that the war has been raging for more than a decade and other crises continue to emerge, including the pandemic and the Ukraine conflict .
“While it’s true — the film crews that once filmed children pulled out of the rubble and bombed hospitals are no longer documenting the plight of Syria as they used to be — the suffering of the Syrian people still exists,” he said.
Dr. Al-Mandhari recently completed a mission in Syria. He shared heartbreaking examples of suffering, including the story of a single mother of two blind boys who waited two years for heart surgery.
Syria has lost more than half of its medical workers since the start of the war, and hospital equipment has failed.
Healing and Empowerment
Dr Al-Mandhari said WHO is working with partners “to heal Syria and enable it to become a country of peace and prosperity – to build resilient communities, protect health rights and reduce social inequalities.”
He stressed that improving health in Syria is in line with global efforts to achieve sustainable development that benefits all people and the planet.
This calls for new international cooperation that will support both the resilience and the health of the Syrian people, with a focus on areas such as investment, knowledge sharing, politics and legislation.
“A just and peaceful future for Syria depends on the renewed commitment of the international community, member states and partners,” he said. “We need a new multi-pronged approach to achieving health for the people of Syria ensuring social and economic stability and shared prosperity”.
Recognizing the great need and suffering, Dr. Al-Mandhari said he returned from Syria with optimism, showing signs of resilience and hope.
“Despite scarce financial and human resources, I have also seen medical professionals move mountains to serve their people. Despite the pain I felt, I met wonderful people behind these devastating numbers,” he said.
“Let’s not forget the Syrian people. Let’s put an end to their suffering. Let’s give them our attention, especially now that the deteriorating socio-economic situation has left millions of people in need of help.”