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Germany ensures provision of emergency medical care on the Syrian‑Turkish border

04.04.2017 - Article

The Syrian health system has collapsed in many parts of the country. Germany is financing aid projects to make sure that basic healthcare is available to thousands of people.

Common illnesses and minor accidents can be fatal without proper treatment. The Syrian health system has collapsed in many parts of the country. Germany is financing aid projects to make sure that basic healthcare is available to thousands of people.

Large numbers of people continue to flee from the violence in northern Syria. Millions are now stuck near the border with Turkey. Their situation is bleak. The local health system is in ruins after years of war, and no longer has the capacity to treat the local population. The few remaining doctors and clinics are totally overwhelmed by the flood of refugees from other parts of the country.

Life‑threatening risks

Oxygen cylinder filling station at the hospital in Bab al‑Salama
Oxygen cylinder filling station at the hospital in Bab al‑Salama© Malteser Hilfsdienst e.V./Mustafa Soltan)

Across Syria, access to even the most basic health care is no longer guaranteed. Since the outbreak of war, hundreds of attacks on ambulance services, hospitals and health clinics have been recorded. Less than half of all medical facilities are still functioning. Before the war, the doctor‑to‑population ratio in Syria was 1:600. Now, after years of destruction and violence, it has sunk to 1:4000. Large parts of the population have to cope with medical emergencies entirely on their own. Minor accidents, childbirth and common diseases thus have the potential to end fatally.

Making sure that basic care is available

Oxygen supplies and blood banks are vital for life‑saving operations
Oxygen supplies and blood banks are vital for life‑saving operations© Malteser Hilfsdienst e.V./Mustafa Soltan

The Federal Foreign Office is therefore investing in humanitarian projects run by the Malteser Hilfsdienst e.V. (Health and First Aid Service of the German Association of the Order of Malta), which significantly improve access to healthcare. They do this by, for example, maintaining blood banks and providing medical oxygen, without which life‑saving operations could not be successfully undertaken. They also hand out medicines and train medical staff. In this way, access to guaranteed medical care is provided for one million people in the project catchment area. Each month, some 4500 people benefit directly from treatments that can thus be provided – specialist operations, assisted deliveries and Caesarian sections.

Thanks to its access to the project region, the Malteser Hilfsdienst has also been able to provide emergency shelter for 10,000 people and has distributed blankets to 5000 people to provide some protection against the cold in winter.

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