The Latest News from Syria Relief

By Jessica Adams, Senior Marketing Coordinator

Today the World Health Organisation, charitable organisations and all countries will commemorate World Patient Safety Day. This year we are recognising the vital work of health workers across the world and are calling on all actors in the Syrian conflict to do more to ensure the protection medical professionals and to stop the deliberate killing and injuring of healthcare staff and patients. Without safe health workers, there can be no safe patients.

As COVID19 starts to spread rapidly in Syria, the pandemic is posing extraordinary new challenges to one of the world's most complex conflict zones. Nine years of conflict has left Syria's healthcare system in shatters. Medical professionals lack vital medical supplies, PPE and ventilators to address the needs of the millions displaced by violence. They face the risk of infection and the ever-present threat of violence.

Throughout the conflict, hospitals and healthcare centres have been damaged, destroyed and targeted. According to the World Health Organisation, 70% of worldwide attacks on health care facilities, ambulances and medical staff have occurred within Syria. It was with great sadness earlier this year that we confirmed the death of one of our Primary Healthcare Centre workers, who was killed in an airstrike as well as an attack on our medical centre in November last year which caused extensive damage and injured patients. Sadly, with the dangerous working conditions, these are all too familiar stories.

There is a misconception in the UK that the conflict in Syria is over, but this is not the reality here on the ground; violence and displacement continues. Now with the added threat of coronavirus, the work of medical professionals has never been more important. Many Syrians were forced to flee the country in search of safely meaning that there are now very few healthcare professionals remaining in Syria.

To address the medical needs of millions in Syria, we have developed a far-reaching medical programme. We are running hospitals, primary healthcare centres, mobile clinics and prosthetic limb clinics across Syria that are delivering high-quality medical care to displaced Syrians in need. Our medical teams also deliver the highest quality medical training to professionals to fulfil our mission to support rebuilding Syria’s medical sector and to support localised development. But to deliver this vital medical care, staff and patients must both be protected.

We are calling for the protection of all frontline medical professionals and are asking our donors to help us to supply vital medical equipment and PPE to those who need it most. No doctor, nurse, surgeon or dentist should be at risk of violence or infection.

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