Medical performance and development during the Syrian Revolution (Part 2 of 2)

اعداد هبة دباس | تحرير هبة دباس | ترجمة سمارة بلبول | تحرير الترجمة Freda Hocaine 🕔 تم النشر بتاريخ : 12 فبراير، 2018 12:36:48 ص تقرير موضوعي عسكريإغاثي وإنساني صحة

At the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013, the Syrian government began losing control over vast expanses of territory. As a result of these losses, it suspended important institutions such as health centers and directorates, thereby increasing needs and confronting doctors with the task of having to go beyond simply “filling gaps” and providing emergency paramedic services. Consequently, these doctors (with crucial support from humanitarian, medical and civili society organisations) established the current healthcare system within the liberated areas.

Civil Society organizations establish and support the health sector:

Field hospitals first began appearing in the early months of the Syrian revolution. They spread widely across regions previously seen as places of peaceful revolutionary movements. A ‘field hospital’ (or ‘first aid station’) is essentially a room within a house normally belonging to an activist. It could also be a building, or a basement, equipped with basic appliances suitable for performing minor surgeries such as laparotomies. Most of the medical staff at these facilities are usually volunteers. They sometimes sporadically receive grants, mostly small sums of money, as tokens of appreciation for their efforts.

Several humanitarian and medical organisations have shown support Syria’s medical sector. One such organisation is the Syrian American Medical Society foundation, which was founded in 1995 to support and facilitate the education of Syrian doctors. According to Dr. Mohamed Kattoub, the Head of the Advocacy Department in SAMS, the foundation’s mission expanded to including provision of medical services in areas of revolutionary activity.

UOSSM, an organisation founded in 2012, has also played a key role in supporting the medical sector. According to it’s Executive Director, Zaidoun al-Zobi, work across all Syrian organisations has been carried out collaboratively, in order to cover as many areas and needs as possible.

Regarding the Health directorates, their role has been limited to coordinating, providing statistics of needs, and handling operational logistics. While the Ministry of Health of the Interim government has been unable to carry out its required ministerial role due to a lack of support, SAMS and UOSSM further add that it has failed in managing the health care system due to lack of expertise.

Dr. Firas al-Jundi, the Health Minister of the Interim Government, attributed these weaknesses to the little support it has received in properly maintaining hospitals. Indeed, it was further added that the interim government has not received any support since being founded.

Bombed hospitals:

Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution up to the end of 2017, the Health Ministry of the Interim Government has documented 650 cases of hospital and medical station targetings by loyalist and Russian warplanes. Hospitals has also been targeted by other parties, such as the IS and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), by an average of three bombings per hospital.

Dr. al-Jundi spoke about the shortcomings these bombings have created for the medical sector: “The material losses are huge and the damage exceeds them. We have lost several medical staff members.”. According to a written statement by Dr. al-Jundi, since the beginning of the revolution in Syria, 836 medical staff, including 135 doctors, have been killed.


The Ministry of Health of the Interim Government has recorded that, since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, 1460 hospitals and medical stations have been established. Of these, only 30% are still active according to Dr. al-Jundi.

The Doctor also pointed out that the ministry has not received any support since its inception. Verily, this prevents it from providing much needed support to hospitals and the health sector more generally. Humanitarian and medical organizations such as SAMS, UOSSM, Doctors without Borders (MSF), SIMA, Sham, Physicians Across Continents, Pak, Syria Relief, Hand in Hand, the Qatar Red Crescent and several others, have provided services and financial support to the health sector, as well as offering training courses for medical and administrative staff.

Currently, the ministry’s role consists variously, in supervising public health institutes in liberated areas, coordinating with the Ministry of Higher Education, and offering specialities not available in these areas. According to Dr. Kattoub, SAMS supports 135 hospitals in areas outside of governmental, IS and Kurdish Autonomous Administration control. It also provides health services and medical missions for refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. It provides three million services within and outside Syria, including examination, vaccines, surgeries, blood tests and x-ray pictures. East service costs $3.

In 2017, SAMS spent $30 million in the health sector, as well as distributing the equipment and ocular medicines were donated by sponsors for civilians. SAMS main source of support comes from the wider Syrian community, who cover a third of its budget. The remaining two thirds, according to Dr. Kattoub, are covered by individual or organizational donors and sponsors.

There are currently 60 SAMS staff members in Turkey. In Syria, 190 medical staff and 150 administrative staff, are receiving their monthly salaries through the organization.

UOSSM was founded by volunteer doctors on Jan. 7, 2012. According to UOSSM was founded by volunteer doctors on Jan. 7, 2012. According to Dr al-Zobi, these doctors work in field hospitals in Syria, and in collaboration with Syrian doctors outside Syria.

UOSSM annually provides services to 1.5 million people across 30 health centres in Syria.

Organizations and doctors’ vision of the medical sector future: 

The people interviewed see the effective governance of the medical sector as the solution to developing it. Health directorates should control and manage all medical institutions and departments, including family, reproductive and epidemiological health, through providing all kinds of financial and expertise support. The doctors further added that the work of humanitarian medical organizations, such as SAMS and UOSSM, should steadily decrease and eventually be used only for filling gaps in medical services. They should not be relied upon as a leading role in the health sector, because they are not governmental bodies. A management body should be performing missions in liberated areas, and the organizations’ role should ideally be only supplementary and “opposing to what is happening currently”. All medical organizations in Syria have agreed and formed a mutual coordination room with the Health directorates. Organisations are currently working, under the supervision of the directorates, in proceeding to hand over the health sector to the latter.

الاخبار المتعلقة

اعداد هبة دباس | تحرير هبة دباس | ترجمة سمارة بلبول | تحرير الترجمة Freda Hocaine 🕔 تم النشر بتاريخ : 12 فبراير، 2018 12:36:48 ص تقرير موضوعي عسكريإغاثي وإنساني صحة
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