Creating new hospitals, supporting existing ones
Syria’s medical infrastructure has been shattered. We’re supporting existing medical centres with essential supplies and training, as well as creating new hospitals to provide permanent access to high-quality emergency aid and healthcare.
Delivering ordinary & extraordinary care
The current conflict means we’re dealing with the effects of bombs and bullets, malnutrition and exposure. But in the middle of war, people still get cancer, need dialysis and give birth. The WHO estimates that half a million children have missed out on immunisation from life-threatening diseases; in Syria’s severe winters, they also face hypothermia, pneumonia and frostbite. Many pregnant women give birth without any antenatal, maternity or postnatal care for themselves or their babies, and yet the number of premature births has increased dramatically. We’re doing all we can to deliver ordinary and extraordinary care; with your help, we could do more.
In January 2013, we opened our first paediatric hospital, the only specialist unit of its kind in northern Syria. The hospital serves a combined local and refugee population of 45,000 and this number is growing daily. Staffed around the clock, it has 4 wards, a neonatal intensive care unit, and 2 delivery suites (prior to this, the local obstetrician had to deliver babies on her kitchen floor). The infant incubators now have phototherapy equipment to treat neonatal jaundice, which – when untreated – can lead to brain and organ damage. We have since opened a second children’s hospital, and your donation could help to open more.
Since premature births have increased dramatically, we have equipped both of our children’s hospitals with neonatal units. We also put incubators and paediatricians into all of our general hospitals so that these babies have a chance of survival.
We have since added a women’s unit with a labour ward, with dedicated midwives to help women through pregnancy and childbirth, and an operating theatre. All of our hospitals have obstetric theatres providing C-section facilities which are otherwise impossible to access; this helps to improve survival rates for both mothers and babies.
In memory of dedication
The sudden death of one of our British medical colleagues early in 2013, Dr Isa Abdur Rahman, killed while working inside Syria, shocked all of those who knew him. In honour of his dedication to the Syrian cause, we worked with his friends to set up a memorial fund to open a new general hospital in the heart of Damascus. The hospital receives casualties from the front line, but also has an obstetrics room and a neonatal unit, honouring his desire to help children and women victims in Syria, particularly victims of sexual violence.
Supporting existing hospitals
Our medical lead and his team liaise with over 100 hospitals, clinics, and physical rehabilitation centres around Syria. They coordinate deliveries of essential supplies and equipment; provide emergency treatment and surgery; train doctors in specialist conflict-related skills; and assess how the hospitals are coping. They also collect data about the number of patientsbeing treated, their injuries, and the various infections and their rates, feeding this data into our planning to ensure we spend donations intelligently and effectively.
The challenge of electricity
Imagine the impact of a power failure in a hospital — in operating theatres, in special-care baby units, in intensive care and on the ward. Unreliable or non-existent electricity supplies mean we rely heavily on generators, but getting hold of them (and fuel for them) is a worsening problem. We need generators in every hospital, but they’re expensive to run – each using 20 litres of diesel per hour – and become overloaded. Generators must run 24/7all year round, and ideally, we need a back-up in every hospital.
Our emergency response service
Hospitals can only help sick and injured people if they can get there.Throughout the conflict, ambulances have been a target for attack. As of November 2013, we had already taken 32 ambulances into Syria, but your help could provide more ambulances, each paired with paramedics. However, we don’t just deliver them: we’re also putting in place the mechanism to run a co-ordinated rapid-response service, so that ambulances and hospitals can work better to deal with major incidents.
Find out more about…
- The Syrian healthcare crisis
- Our work in training doctors in Syria
- Our plans for a blood bank
- Our plans for a rapid response service.