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From Birth to Death in Syria
FIELD JOURNAL/PHOTO ESSAY
September 20, 2013
This article is part of the Summer 2013 issue of the MSF Alert newsletter.
Syria 2013 © Robin Meldrum/MSF
As the number of people in need of urgent medical care in Syria continues to rise, MSF has been running six hospitals, four health centers, and several mobile clinic programs inside the country. Through June, teams have carried out more than 55,000 medical consultations, 2,800 surgical procedures, and 1,000 deliveries since the conflict began.
While these medical programs are undoubtedly saving dozens of lives every day, the extremely insecure environment severely limits MSF’s reach, meaning that the number of patients we tend to is a pittance compared to the number of people who need assistance. Throughout most of the country, however, there are places where medical services are either inadequate or totally absent. What follows are images from one of those projects, along with the words of Steve Rubin, a surgeon from Oregon who recently returned from an assignment with MSF in Syria:
What’s really interesting about this Syrian population is the fact that before this war they had good quality care.
Some of the people really want that care again, so they come in because they don’t have doctors to go to anymore.
They don’t have hospitals because, other than us, everybody else is doing war trauma—we’re trying to fill a gap for them.
Essentially the Emergency Room deals with diabetics, hypertensives, people with heart disease… On top of that we deal with casualties that are coming in, shrapnel wounds, and then [we are] always prepared for the mass casualties.
But we’re bringing new life into the world on a daily basis. Nobody else in the area is running a hospital that’s doing maternity. There are midwives in the communities, but there’s no hospital doing it any more.
We do the full gamut, from birth to death.