المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Poor healthcare services put nearly four million civilians’ lives at risk in north-western Syria as Coronavirus pandemic spreads across the world

The areas controlled by opposition factions and jihadists in north-western Syria are suffering a severe shortage of medical equipment and insufficient measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in terms of the number of hospitals beds and medical facilities and clinics .

All the hospitals contain nearly 200 beds for intensive care, and just 95 ventilators for adults, while all this equipment is 100 per cent allocated for different diseases, and the number of hospital beds is 3,065, which means only one bed for every 1,592 citizens, which threatens to cause a real looming disaster if the novel Coronavirus pandemic spreads in those areas.

Although medical teams and organizations are working hard within their capacities, hospitals do not have sufficient medical staff and equipment to deal with this disaster that is sweeping the world.

An organization had provided three kits for PCR testing to the only epidemiological laboratory in Idlib city, which is only enough for 300 people, while Idlib city is home to nearly 4 million people.

Hospital and medical points have been suffering from a lack of medical support since the beginning of the recent military operations in Idlib. Most hospitals have been put out of service, while some have been brought under regime control. Hospitals on the border have remained intact in northern and western Idlib.

In the areas controlled by Turkish-backed factions, north of Aleppo, the “Salvation Government” has taken a series of preventive measures such as closing universities and institutes, banning public gatherings in markets and dispersing gatherings.

Attention is given more to hospitals in “Euphrates Shield” and “Olive Branch” areas  in terms of services provided in hospitals and medical points and the use of body thermostats in al-Ra’i and Azaz hospitals in northern Aleppo, while clinics in most hospitals have  suspended treating patients and only critical cases are taken.

Medical sources have told the Syrian Observatory that more than ten suspected cases of coronavirus were tested. No cases   tested positive yet as the results of the tests were negative.

Tests are being made to detect coronavirus cases for people wishing to enter and leave northern Aleppo to areas controlled by HTS and opposition factions in Idlib via Al-Ghazawi and Deir Blloot crossings, as well as sterilizing and disinfecting the areas of public gatherings, the doors of public institutions and transportation centers.

And yet, the measures are still insufficient as hundreds of thousands of displaced persons are living in overcrowded camps, sharing the same bathrooms, drinking water from communal sources and using communal facilities and services, with little public health awareness which contributed to lack of self-prevention against the spread of the pandemic.

Therefore, we, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, call on all concerned humanitarian and medical organizations to provide aid and take all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of this epidemic in those areas, which are homes to more than four million civilians who have been forced to leave their areas by military operations and fled to small geographical area that lack the basic necessities of life.

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