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More Than 200,000 People in Southern Syria Have No Access to Medical Care


FILE - Children wait to be examined from Unicef health workers in Kafra Batna in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, Syria, Oct. 30, 2017.

The World Health Organization is calling for access to more than 210,000 people in urgent need of medical assistance in southern Syria, the scene of recent intense fighting between Russian-backed Syrian Government forces and opposition armed groups.

United Nations and other aid agencies are able to provide medical and other assistance to people in Government-controlled areas in southern Syria. But, parts of rebel-held northwest Daraa and Quneitra Governorates are inaccessible to them, raising concerns for the health of more than 200,000 people displaced by the fighting.

The World Health Organization is calling for unimpeded and immediate access to these areas," said Jasarevic. "WHO spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic says many lives are at stake. He says health workers must be allowed to reach those in urgent need of help and the safe delivery of essential medicines and medical items must be guaranteed.

"The majority of people displaced are exposed to soaring summer temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius and dusty desert winds, with limited access to clean drinking water, sanitation services, and adequate health care. In the past week, at least 15 Syrians—12 children, two women, and one elderly man—have died due to dehydration, and diseases transmitted through contaminated water."

WHO reports nearly 75 percent of all public hospitals and health centers in Daraa and Quneitra are closed or only partially functioning. As a consequence, it says many injured people, including hundreds of children, as well as pregnant women in need of emergency obstetric services are unable to receive vital medical care.

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