News / Middle East

Aid Group Describes Healthcare Disaster in Syria

FILE - A girl receives treatment in a field hospital in Aleppo, Syria, December 28, 2013.
FILE - A girl receives treatment in a field hospital in Aleppo, Syria, December 28, 2013.
Reuters
— Newborns freezing to death in hospital incubators, doctors cutting off limbs to stop patients from bleeding to death, surging cases of polio: a new report published on Monday paints a dire picture of Syria's collapsing healthcare system.

The report, issued by charity Save the Children, says some 60 percent of Syria's hospitals have been damaged or destroyed since the start of the three-year-old conflict and nearly half of its doctors have fled the country.

Over 140,000 people have died in the war, which started as a peaceful protest movement against President Bashar al-Assad and degenerated into civil conflict fueled by regional and international rivalries.

In its report, Save the Children describes the fallout from the collapse of the medical system as “horrific,” as remaining hospitals and medical staff struggle to treat thousands of people wounded by the fighting.

”Syria's health system is now in such disarray that we have heard reports of doctors using old clothes for bandages and patients opting to be knocked unconscious with metal bars, because there are no anaesthetics,'' the report said.

”The lack of clean water means sterilization for bandages is nearly impossible, causing the threat of infection and possible death.''

Children's limbs have been amputated because clinics did not have the equipment to treat their wounds, it said. Newborns have died in incubators because of power cuts and parents have administered intravenous drips to their children because there was not enough medical staff to help them.

Patients have died from receiving wrong blood types, and transfusions have in some places been performed directly between people because of a lack of power, according to the report.

The report quoted the Syrian American Medical Society as estimating that, since the start of the conflict, 200,000 Syrians had died from chronic illnesses because of a lack of access to treatment and drugs.

Polio resurgence

Syria's vaccination coverage has also been hit hard. Before the war, coverage was 91 percent, but fell to 68 percent just a year after the conflict's start, and is probably much lower now, the report said.

Measles and meningitis have spread, and polio - which the report said was eradicated across Syria in 1995 - has now infected up to 80,000 children, it added.

”The breakdown of Syria's vaccination program has resulted in the re-emergence of polio in Syria,'' it said.

”Children born after 2010 have not been vaccinated for two years. There have been heavy restrictions in access to vaccines and health workers have not been able to reach children in need.''

Factors including overcrowding and poor living conditions, water and sanitation have meant skin diseases including Leishmaniasis - a parasitic disease caused by the bite of the sandfly - have increased.

There were fewer than 3,000 cases before the war, and now there are more than 100,000.

Save the Children called for humanitarian groups to be given freedom of access to all areas and aid to be allowed across conflict lines, after ceasefires if necessary.

”Immediate investment in, and access to, child-focused health services is needed to ensure that children are not dying from preventable and treatable injuries and illnesses,'' it said.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid