Hospitals in Syria

March 22, 2017-Reading time: 2 minutes

The war in Syria has not only led to mass exodus and starvation. In Aleppo there are 2.2 million people without health care. More people die today in Syria for lack of care than on the battlefield. The initiative Open hospitals aims to ensure free inpatient and outpatient care.

- Maria Laura Conte

It does not seem to be enough that the war in Syria has been defined several times, in all international environments, as ".the greatest humanitarian crisis of our era". It is not enough, because indifference and habituation push us to turn our heads away, and even to lower them often to see only our navel.

Nevertheless, 13.5 million displaced persons, 6 million of whom are children, cannot fail to stir something in anyone who thinks a little of the world as their home.

A large part of these Syrians, almost 9 million, live in food insecure conditions. And after six years of war, the Syrian healthcare system has collapsed. The UN speaks of 11.5 million people who have no access to health care. And 40 % are children. In Aleppo alone there are more than 2.2 million people without access to medical care. It is estimated that 58 % of public hospitals and 49 % of health centers are closed or only partially functioning, and that more than 658 people working in these structures have died since the beginning of the crisis.

According to some estimates, only 45 % of the health personnel working in Syria before the onset of the crisis are still active in the country. Life expectancy has dropped by 15 years for men and 10 years for women.

"More people die today in Syria for lack of care than on the battlefield". These words of the nuncio in Syria, Cardinal Mario Zenari, have prompted the creation of a new project, "Open Hospitals, to help people find care and relief from wounds of the body and also of the soul. They are the Italian Hospital and St. Louis Hospital in Damascus, the Al Rajaa Hospital and St. Louis Hospital in Aleppo. It has been studied by the AVSI Foundation, together with Cor Unum and with the health collaboration of the Gemelli University Polyclinic Foundation.

AVSI's project aims to boost the activities to the 90% of its possibilities and to ensure free inpatient and outpatient care for the most needy patients. Supporting these hospitals (including through, to support the work of those in Syria who are on the side of the population, is a simple way of not looking the other way and understanding that Syria is here.


The authorMaria Laura Conte

Degree in Classical Literature and PhD in Sociology of Communication. Communications Director of the AVSI Foundation, based in Milan, dedicated to development cooperation and humanitarian aid worldwide. She has received several awards for her journalistic activity.

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