June 17, 2014
Syria's health care system is facing a crisis as hospitals have come under attack and medical supplies have not been replenished because of international sanctions. This video visits a hospital in Damascus and interviews healthcare authorities on the growing crisis.
Interview 1: Dr. Saed Alnayef – Minister of Health in Syria
"The source of this bad situation is not limited to actions of terrorists who directly targeted medical institutions and services, but also includes their targeting and destruction of other service sectors such as water and electricity. This has affected both the medical and the environmental situation in the country. There is the economic siege which has affected the importing of medicine and medical equipment. This poses a great challenge for us. We were able to make use of all our potential resources in terms of medicine, equipment, and medical staff. This way we were able to make up for the shortages, and provide decent medical care for Syrian citizens. However, this targeted destruction [by armed groups] affected 67 hospitals, while more than 38 hospitals completely went out of business. Also, 400 cars were destroyed and more than 20 medicine factories."
Interview 2: Dr. Abd al-Karim – Emergency Room Doctor.
"The public's perception of the hospital in Damascus is that its one of the largest hospitals in Damascus. Recently, the hospital suffered a lot due to the constant increase in volume of people visiting the hospital for consults, which sometimes exceeds 500 to 1000 patients. The patients come not only from Damascus and its suburbs, but also from other Syrian cities due to lack of medical care there. We suffered in this hospital and we are still suffering from the scarcity of some medical products that we used to import from other countries. This is due to the economic siege on the Syrian government. Other than that, there is malfunctioning equipment that we struggled to fix because they were imported from other countries who have boycotted Syria. So to provide the required medical care at the hospital, we had to find other local ways to fix the equipment or use other equipment and find alternatives."