News / Middle East

UN Struggles to Provide Medical Care for Syrians

A doctor treats an internally displaced child in a school at a village outside Damascus, January 28, 2013.
A doctor treats an internally displaced child in a school at a village outside Damascus, January 28, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The World Health Organization reports the health situation in Syria has progressively worsened over the last six months.  And, a WHO representative in Syria says there has been a marked deterioration in the ability to provide health care to the civilian population over the past month. 

The World Health Organization representative in Syria, Elizabeth Hoff, says it is difficult to provide health care to people on the move.  

Speaking to journalists in Geneva by telephone from Damascus, Hoff says Agra, a town outside Damascus, has been hosting some 200,000 displaced people.

But many of them are now are on the move again because of heavy fighting and bombardment in the town.  Hoff says this constant displacement nationwide makes it difficult - if not impossible - to carry out vaccination campaigns and other health programs.

She estimates about 50 percent of the hospitals in Syria are damaged and one-third are out of service.  She says most of the ambulances are damaged and those that are functional are being used for military purposes.  Hoff says medicines and medical equipment are in short supply.

“What I would also say is that I went recently to the burn hospital, this is just here in Damascus where they have referrals from all over the country.  And, there are an enormous amount of patients now.  So, they had to open a new section because burns are affecting the civil population," she explained. "It is actually the fact that these explosions are taking place and hitting into highly populated areas.  And, you see a number of children and women with serious burns.”   

Hoff says the breakdown of water and sanitation is a major concern and is leading to an increase of water-borne diseases. She says hospitals are unable to operate dialysis and other medical machinery because of severe cuts to electricity and fuel.

The United Nations sanctions on the Syrian government and its leaders do not include an embargo on humanitarian goods, on medicine, or on medical equipment.  Nevertheless, Hoff says the sanctions are seriously affecting the ability of WHO to import medical supplies.

“Syria cannot send money abroad to procure the medicines that they need.  WHO is trying to assist in this, but it is a complicated matter," said Huff. "The Syrian government has $2.5 million available to buy new blood safety tests.  We have not been able, as yet, to transfer the money to be able to procure on behalf of the Syrian government this important test to make sure that the transfusions can be given free of HIV, free of hepatitis B and C.”  

Hoff says $100 million worth of medicine is needed in Syria over the next few months.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs