WHO delivers 185 tonnes of medical supplies to improve access to health services in northern Syria

WHO

WHO has delivered 185 tonnes of life-saving medicines, anaesthetics, antibiotics, emergency medical kits and other treatments to over 30 health partners in northern Syria so far in 2018. These deliveries are part of its ongoing efforts to meet the immediate and long-term health needs of hundreds of thousands of displaced and critically ill patients in northern Syria.

The shipments included 1.4 million medical treatments for surgical and trauma cases, reproductive health conditions and infectious diseases, as well as essential medicines for noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In total, about US$ 1.8 million worth of supplies were delivered to 180 primary and secondary health-care facilities from January to April 2018.

“WHO shipments help mitigate critical shortages of medicines and supplies in overstretched health facilities that remain functioning in northern Syria,” said Dr Annette Heinzelmann, Emergency Coordinator at the WHO field office in Gaziantep, Turkey. “WHO will continue to support and equip nongovernmental organization partners to reach those most in need, especially the arriving displaced persons who live in precarious living conditions.”

Lack of health facilities and qualified health workers remains a serious concern in northern Syria. More than half of the country’s public hospitals and health-care centres have either closed or are only partially functioning. In some areas, such as Idleb, there is virtually no access to public hospitals or primary health-care centres.

In order to ensure access to services, WHO equipped 7 mobile clinics that have been deployed to provide primary health-care services, vaccination, nutritional screening and mental health support in areas with the greatest need, where health services are no longer available. Additionally, WHO supports the operations of 45 primary health-care facilities in Idleb Governorate, which serve a population of 700 000 people.

Funding for the medical supplies delivered by WHO to northern Syria is provided through generous donations from the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) pooled funds, and the governments of Kuwait and Norway.