WHO condemns attacks on Syria’s hospitals

by | Oct 15, 2012 | News

By Mamta Lulla

The World Health Organization released a report Monday, condemning attacks on health facilities in Syria and calling for a halt to the violence to ensure safe access by patients to medical care.

The WHO release states 67 per cent of public hospitals have been affected due to the conflict in the country.

Civil war always impacts provision of health services, Paul Kingston, director of the Centre for Critical Development Studies at University of Toronto.

“I would imagine some kind of health structure still working in the central area like Damascus because the fighting has been least there, but in the rural areas, given the prevalence of fighting you can imagine the health is not only breaking down from a personal perspective but it’s been destroyed,” Kingston said.

Activist kissing the Syrian independence flag. COURTESY FLICKR COMMONS

Out of the 520 ambulances, 271 have been damaged and 177 of those are not in service.

“What happens in these situations is citizens compensate for the lack of public facilities,” said Kingston. “What this represents in general is the gradual disintegration of the Syrian state, not the political regime like the infrastructure, the educational services are also effected, farming, agriculture. Health is just one small area of a broader problem of state’s disintegration.”

Last week, a workshop by the Syrian ministry of health and WHO discussed proper measures to prevent outbreaks of epidemics and diseases, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency.

Health Minister Saeed al-Nayef pointed out 104 health centers across the provinces were chosen for weekly notification on a specific list of diseases of concern, including 12 contagious diseases reported the News Agency.

“This aims for early confrontation and treatment of such diseases upon emerging,” said the minister while attending the workshop.

A WHO representative, Elizabeth Hoff, told the News Agency the organization has established the early warning system to help in early detection of epidemics.

Listen to Humber News’ interview with Paul Kingston below: