Since the conflict in Syria began, the country has experienced turmoil in almost every way possible. It has seen deepening poverty, a lack of access to resources and successive rounds of violence. Many do not know where their next meal is coming from. Children continue to be killed, orphaned and deprived of their right to an education.
In northwest Syria where Islamic Relief is one of the few international non-governmental organisations still working on the ground, more than 900,000 people have now been displaced, mostly women and children.
The region’s harsh winter conditions have further worsened the situation and there are reports of children dying from the freezing temperatures.
What’s more, the healthcare sector is on the brink of collapse. Just this year, more than 15 hospitals supported by Islamic Relief have come under attack. This is “a reminder of how urgently we need to see an end to this crisis”, says Naser Haghamed, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide.
The continuing conflict has worsened the humanitarian situation particularly in Idlib, and the cost of essential commodities have increased. Fuel prices have increased by 21% in the past two months, which has impacted the functioning of hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
As well as difficulties accessing healthcare facilities, there are major security concerns surrounding healthcare facilities and a severe lack of medical supplies, leaving many unable to get the urgent healthcare they require.
Islamic Relief’s response
In order to help combat the dire healthcare situation in northwest Syria, Islamic Relief is running a project which is providing vital support to the healthcare sector.
The intervention, funded by our partners in Sweden , will provide lifesaving healthcare services to over 500,000 people affected by the conflict in northwest Syria, of which more than half are women.
We’ve already been able to provide lifesaving healthcare support to almost 140,000 people.
“Islamic Relief is running healthcare facilities such as mobile emergency units, health centres and specialised dialysis centres. Most recently, we have been supporting open heart cardiac surgery centres with essential medical equipment and supplies”, says Mohammed, health officer for Islamic Relief Syria.
As well as this, we’re providing wages to healthcare staff, running costs and essential training.
We’re also providing safe and reliable transport to those who would not otherwise be able to access healthcare facilities, and establishing referral systems between healthcare facilities, allowing patients to travel easily from one facility to another where required.
Islamic Relief are working closely with local councils, health authorities and other humanitarian organisations in order to ensure this project runs smoothly and offers the most effective support.
Lifesaving treatment for Ahmad
Since 2019, we have been supporting a cardiology centre in northwest Syria which offers complex cardiac procedures, such as open-heart surgery.
The centre’s first operation was carried out on Ahmed, a 75-year-old from Kafr Nabl in northern Syria.
“I was suffering from a blockage in four arteries, and a cardiac catheterisation was performed for me.
“The shellshock and the continuous displacement that I have faced as well as successive shocks are the reason my health has suffered so badly and the stress has caused the blockage of my arteries, according to the specialists”, says Ahmed.
“Prior to the procedure, I would struggle to climb the four flights of stairs to my apartment… I would also feel extremely tired and sleep a lot due to shortness of breath”, he explains.
He was initially planning to travel to a neighbouring country for this essential procedure. It would have been very difficult in his condition, as well as expensive. “When I heard about this hospital, I went directly to them and they set the date for the operation very quickly”, says Ahmed.
After a successful operation, Ahmed’s health as significantly improved.
“Thank God, I am in the best condition…my feeling is indescribable.
“I thank the hospital and the medical staff for the distinguished service they have provided to me. I cannot even express how pleased I am with the incredible help they gave me.
“This centre is a source of pride for us and for the whole world… and I thank Islamic Relief for its great effort, and I hope to continue supporting this centre because of its utmost importance when it comes to saving lives.”
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