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Healthcare crisis at breaking point in Syria

News   •   Feb 13, 2013 12:36 GMT

After almost two years of increasingly violent conflict, the humanitarian crisis in Syria is severe. Merlin is supporting health workers across Syria to provide emergency healthcare deep inside war torn areas.

Since the fighting began in 2011 more than 2.5 million people have been forced to leave their homes in a war where the ‘frontline’ shifts on a daily basis. In the face of this vast need the country’s healthcare system stands on the brink of collapse.

Overstretched and under threat

Most of the people who have left their homes remain in Syria. Hundreds of thousands have fled fighting in the cities to towns and villages in the country side, where doctors and hospitals are struggling to cope.

One rural clinic, which at the start of 2011 supported just 50 people, is now responsible for the health of 12,000 people who have been forced from more dangerous areas. Cases of treatable conditions like diarrhoea and skin disease are rising dramatically.

In many places the supply of medicine and medical equipment has completely broken down, while drug prices on the black market have sky rocketed. More and more pregnant women have no choice but to give birth without any medical support.

Fighting has intensified over the last six months, and those health workers who remain are treating life-threatening injuries without the right training or equipment.

Government forces are now targeting hospitals and health clinics as retribution for treating the wounded. With many medical facilities destroyed or too dangerous to operate in, doctors are treating people in basements and abandoned government buildings.

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