International Activity Report 2012
MSF in Syria, 2012
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Conflict intensified across Syria in 2012: an increasing number of casualties was reported, while access to medical care was reduced and the aid provided fell far short of what was needed.
Medical attention for the direct victims of violence is not the only problem: prevailing insecurity, the targeted destruction of health facilities and the collapse of the health system mean that many people cannot access the routine or emergency healthcare they need. As the year went on, the humanitarian situation in the country deteriorated.
Caring for the victims of conflict
Despite not receiving government authorization to deliver medical assistance, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) decided to work in the country, in opposition-held areas. Two hospitals were set up in Idlib governorate and a third was opened in Aleppo. A 15-bed trauma surgery unit was set up in a house in Idlib in June. It includes an operating theatre, emergency department and resuscitation room. In November, the team began to provide post-operative physiotherapy. By the end of the year, 665 surgical procedures had taken place and 2,230 patients had received emergency treatment. The hospital team in the region of Jabal Al-Akrad, also in Idlib, first worked in a cave, and then in a converted farm, where they set up an outpatient department, emergency department and operating theater. The team had seen more than 7,200 patients by the end of the year. Staff also distributed basic relief items to people displaced by conflict. The hospital in Aleppo governorate not only treats the war-wounded but also offers obstetric and all other kinds of emergency care, as well as basic health services. Staff performed on average 70 surgical procedures each month.
Expanding medical services
As access to health services worsened, MSF extended activities to basic healthcare, vaccinations and maternal care. In the Deir Ezzor area, a number of patients who faced interruptions in treatment for chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular disease received the medication they needed. In addition, MSF donated tons of medicines and medical supplies to health facilities in Aleppo, Homs, Idlib, Hama, Deraa and Damascus governorates. In September, a large donation of medical supplies and relief items was made to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Damascus. Teams also distributed relief items – including hygiene and cooking kits, and food and blankets – to the displaced and to local residents. At the end of the year, despite repeated requests, MSF still had not received government permission to work in the country.
By the end of 2012, hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees were living in neighboring countries. MSF programs provided medical assistance and relief in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey (see reports on these countries for more details).
At the end of 2012 MSF had 123 staff in Syria. MSF started working in the country in 2009.