What’s Wrong With The State Of Healthcare In Syria?

A Syrian refugee child cries at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, August 3, 2012. The Al Zaatri camp is one of many set up along the 86km (53 mile) border between Jordan and Syria under the management of the  United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and with the help of local charity groups. Refugees were suffering from heat and difficult living conditions as even more people fleeing the fighting continued to pour into the camp on Friday. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed (JORDAN - Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) ORG XMIT: AMM52
healthcare in syria

Syria has been in the news a lot lately, and the images are heartbreaking: doctors operating out of mobile clinics to keep wounded men, women, and children alive. What is wrong with the state of healthcare in Syria? Read on to learn more about this healthcare crisis in Syria:

The Syrian crisis. Syria has been in a state of violent social and political unrest for two years and counting, and what has come to be known as the Syrian crisis is escalating at an alarming rate. For the Syrian people living among the chaos, the result is a dramatic, negative impact on lifestyle, including overcrowding, a lack of shelter, insufficient or nonexistent electricity, and inefficient sanitation. Not only is this deterioration of Syria’s infrastructure leading to more sickness and injury, but also to an increasingly weak and vulnerable healthcare system.

Who is being affected? Currently, no one in Syria is safe from the violence and destruction of the Syrian crisis. It is estimated that approximately 25,000 Syrians have been either killed or severely injured–including women and children–and health staff, even those volunteer doctors from other parts of the globe, are suffering the same fate. Injuries include head, abdomen, and thorax injuries, among a number of other multi-trauma cases. Women, children, and the chronically sick are those the most affected, as a considerable majority of healthcare resources are devoted to treating the wounded. For example, it is difficult for pregnant women in labor to find a place to go to give birth, and countless people with chronic diseases are being forced off their treatment.

How is the healthcare system compromised? Specifically, besides overcrowding, the Syrian healthcare system is in grave danger for a variety of reasons related to the crisis. For one, many people simply cannot access healthcare facilities for reasons having to do with security. Additionally, however, the functionality of Syrian healthcare facilities has been drastically compromised because of things like outdated medical equipment that needs reparations that are not available and a shortage of medications due to sanctioning. Only about 40 percent of primary healthcare centers (PHC) are functioning only partially, and only 50 percent of hospitals are fully functioning.

The healthcare crisis in Syria carries significant weight for the entire world. As many experts have put it, this is not just a Syrian crisis, but rather a humanitarian crisis. As the rest of the world watches in horror, we are left to wonder what it might be like to live in such conditions . . . and if it is possible that this might someday be us.

Keitha Hillie is a HR manager in charge of information technology jobs in a large healthcare office. The state of healthcare is in crisis around the world and needs to be addressed before it’s too late for those suffering.

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