Syrian Arab Republic: tackling noncommunicable diseases in emergencies through primary health care


Providing primary health care services in a country like the Syrian Arab Republic, which is facing one of the world’s most complex humanitarian emergencies, presents many challenges for addressing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). With a severely weakened health system, challenges include short supplies of medicines and ensuring access and continuity in health services.

To lessen the impact of NCDs on individuals and society, WHO integrated NCD care into primary health care for the first time in 2018, with financial support of USAID. Delivering NCD interventions through primary health care strengthens early detection and timely treatment, especially in a setting with limited resources. It is an important way to reduce the risk factors associated with these diseases and implement low-cost solutions for treatment.

Nine health facilities in north-western Syrian Arab Republic piloted the integrated approach to treating NCDs, which encompassed improving diagnosis and treatment at the primary care level. WHO and its partners had to find innovative solutions to fit the care setting, which, due to the emergency situation, can frequently change.