Syrian Arab Republic news releases and feature stories
15 March 2017
This week the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic enters its seventh year. Over the past 6 years access to health services for the civilian population in the country has seriously deteriorated. More than half of public hospitals and primary health centres in the Syrian Arab Republic have either closed or are only partially functioning. Almost two–thirds of health care workers have fled. Many health care facilities that are open lack clean water, electricity, and sufficient medical and surgical supplies.
8 March 2017
WHO support saves lives of malnourished children in Syria
Six years into the Syria crisis, malnutrition rates have increased, especially among children under 5 years of age. Almost 4.3 million boys and girls under the age of 5 are in need of nutrition services, including 73 000 children who are acutely malnourished. WHO is working to ensure that children suffering from malnutrition are diagnosed and treated before their condition leads to serious and long-term medical complications.
1 March 2017
WHO mobile clinics bring health care to northern Syria
The WHO Regional Office for Europe today announced the delivery of five mobile clinics to meet the health needs of sick and injured people in northern Syria. Each unit can provide first aid and emergency care for up to 1000 people per month. WHO/Europe made the announcement during an awards ceremony held near its field office in Gaziantep, Turkey, attended by representatives of Turkey’s Ministry of Health. The event honoured the achievements of health partners, as well as the support of the Turkish Government, in providing medical care to the people of northern Syria in 2016.
26 January 2017
Dr. Peter Salama, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, joined Mr. Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Mr. Amir Mahmoud Abdulla, Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Program, to brief the UN Security Council on the on-going challenges and UN system-wide efforts to provide protection, food, and medical supplies and care in Syria.
19 January 2017
WHO has made important strides in its work during the Syrian crisis. A successful negotiation led to the evacuation of patients in critical condition from east Aleppo. Thousands more, fleeing besieged areas, received health care from mobile clinics. As the crisis continues, WHO's work in Syria remains crucial.
16 January 2017
DAVOS, Switzerland – While efforts to fully implement a ceasefire in Syria continue, we again appeal for immediate, unconditional, and safe access to reach the children and families who are still cut off from humanitarian aid across the country.
10 January 2017
Survey raises concerns about hepatitis C infection in Syria
A survey of more than 20 000 people in Syria has found a concerning number of people infected with hepatitis C, especially among people who are at higher risk. Cases of hepatitis B infection, however, are decreasing as a result of an effective national vaccination campaign.
19 December 2016
WHO: Urgent medical shipments to Aleppo, Syria
Interview of Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative in Syria, 18 December 2016. During the last two weeks WHO has sent urgent medical shipments to Aleppo, Syria
16 December 2016
The World Health Organization is calling for medical evacuation of the sick and injured from east Aleppo to be resumed as quickly as possible. Almost 200 patients were safely transferred to hospitals in western rural Aleppo, Idlib and Turkey before all evacuations were aborted this morning, leaving many more in need of medical care stranded.
14 December 2016
WHO reaches Dar Al Bushi residential home for elderly and disabled people
A week ago, the Dar Al Bushi (also known as Dar Al Safaa) residency for 260 elderly and physically and mentally disabled people was hit by a rocket. The centre is located in the old city of eastern Aleppo. As a result of fierce fighting and partial damage to the building, 102 residents were evacuated to Ibn-Khaldoun Mental Health Hospital, and 18 injured patients to the Al-Razi public hospital in Aleppo city, while 63 patients preferred to stay in the residency, including 9 children, with the rest of the residents fleeing to unknown destinations.
14 December 2016
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced from eastern Aleppo as a result of the conflict. WHO, as the health sector lead agency, together with UN agencies and national partners, is present in Aleppo providing health assistance to internally displaced people and to those living in newly accessible areas.
13 December 2016
Conditions in Aleppo continue to deteriorate as thousands of people flee violence. WHO alongside UN and other partners, is working to provide care in the midst of conflict and to assist internally displaced people (IDPs). The Organization strongly urges all parties to the conflict in Syria to abide by international humanitarian law and protect civilians trapped in the conflict. In particular, WHO demands that all patients and health workers, facilities and vehicles be protected from violence during times of conflict.
12 December 2016
Aleppo health workers witness the worst day of their lives
As the violence in Syria intensifies, civilians and health workers continue to pay the highest price. Today, Aleppo is the most dangerous city in the world. Tens of innocent men, women and children have been killed or injured, and thousands more have been forced to flee for safety. Health workers who choose to stay behind are overwhelmed, exhausted and working with limited resources.
4 December 2016
WHO: WHO supports overwhelmed primary health care centre in Mosul with lifesaving medicines and medical supplies
WHO has successfully delivered life-saving medicines and medical supplies inside Mosul city. The shipment, enough to treat almost 13 000 patients, includes chronic disease medicines, antibiotics, medicines and supplies to treat trauma injuries. Reproductive health items were provided by the United Nations Population Fund.
4 December 2016
WHO responds to increasing health needs in Aleppo, Syria
As the conflict in Aleppo intensifies, WHO and partners are providing lifesaving services and health supplies for thousands of people fleeing to safer areas. More than 250 000 people in besieged eastern Aleppo city are facing dwindling supplies of food, medicine, water and fuel. All ten of eastern Aleppo’s hospitals are closed or barely functional, depriving thousands of people of access to life-saving trauma care, major surgeries, and treatment for other serious health conditions.
25 November 2016
With the Syrian conflict in its sixth year, 30 000 people are injured each month and in need of basic medical care. Severely restricted access to medical care causes many people’s injuries to turn into lifelong disabilities, which otherwise would have been preventable.
20 November 2016
More than 250,000 men, women, and children living in Eastern Aleppo are now without access to hospital care following attacks on the remaining hospitals over the last week. According to reports to WHO from the Organization’s partners in Syria, there are currently no hospitals functioning in the besieged area of the city.
18 November 2016
Update on WHO’s response to the Syrian Crisis
The third quarter (Q3) of 2016 saw a dramatic escalation of military activities, especially around Aleppo. Over half of Syria’s public hospitals and almost half of its public health care centres are either closed or are only partially functioning. Health needs throughout Syria remain acute. Despite many challenges, and thanks to sustained funding from humanitarian donors, WHO has continued to implement emergency health programmes. This report describes the main achievements of WHO’s country office in Damascus and its hubs in Gaziantep (Turkey) and Amman (Jordan) during the third quarter of 2016.
16 November 2016
WHO condemns the attacks on five hospitals that took place in Syria on 13–15 November 2016, including three hospitals in Western Rural Aleppo and two hospitals in Idleb. At least two people were reportedly killed as a result of the attacks and 19 people were wounded, including six medical staff. Shockingly, such attacks on health in Syria are increasing in both frequency and scale. Throughout 2016, WHO and partners have documented 126 such attacks across the country.
17 October 2016
Attack targets health facility in Hama, Syria
At least 5 people, including 2 children and 2 women, were reportedly killed when a primary health care centre in Kafr Zita, northern Hama governorate, Syria, was hit on 15 October. At least 10 others were injured, including 2 health staff.
4 October 2016
Health workers and patients between life and death in eastern Aleppo city
3-year old Khalid* was badly injured when he was brought into the hospital. He was walking in the street when a blast erupted, destroying buildings around him and trapping him under the rubble. He was found by passers by, who took him and tens of other injured civilians by car to the closest functioning hospital. Khalid was taken by hospital staff to the operating room for immediate surgery. He had lost one of his legs and part of his pelvic area. Fortunately for Khalid, a surgeon was available at the hospital and was able to control the bleeding and perform an emergency surgical procedure.
30 September 2016
GENEVA – The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on belligerents in Syria to allow for the immediate and safe evacuation of the sick and wounded from all areas affected by the conflict, including eastern Aleppo. The Organization is also calling for a halt of attacks on health care workers and facilities.
5 August 2016
Dr Hatem Abu Yazan, general director of the Children’s Specialised Hospital in Al Shaa’ar in eastern Aleppo City, was on duty in the hospital’s neonatal section on the first floor when he heard the sound of an airstrike. It was a sound that he was used to, and he was wearing his stethoscope which dulled the noise. He did not pay much attention until he saw the doors cave in and the windows break. Together with a nurse and another doctor, he lifted 9 babies from their incubators and carried them to the basement, where he knew they would be safer. “We waited for 10 minutes for the attack to subside, and then we ran back up to bring the incubators down to the basement, so that they would not be at risk in case of another attack.
30 June 2016
As part of the United Nations interagency convoy on 29 June 2016, WHO delivered 43 000 lifesaving treatments to people in need in Arbeen and Zamalka, East Ghouta.
28 June 2016
With almost half of Syrian health workers having fled the country for safety, being injured or killed in the current crisis, the need to strengthen the capacities of remaining health personnel has never been more critical.
21 June 2016
With another delivery of lifesaving treatments to East Ghouta in Syria on 19 June 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reached, this year, the besieged district with over 30 tonnes of urgently needed medicines and supplies for an estimated population of 246 000 people in need.
13 June 2016
Despite security challenges, WHO continues to reach people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas in Syria with health humanitarian assistance. These sites include Duma, Syria, where impediments to proper water and sanitation services have resulted in poor living, hygiene and sanitation conditions, as well as a lack of access to emergency and chronic disease medications and medical supplies.
8 June 2016
With the Syrian conflict in its sixth year, many people with chronic diseases have limited access to regular treatment and are vulnerable to complications. More than one in 10 Syrians has diabetes and depends on insulin to stay alive. Without regular insulin shots, about 60% of insulin-dependent diabetics are at risk of hyperglycaemia (raised blood sugar), which can result in serious complications and even death.
5 June 2016
WHO condemns another attack on a health facility in Syria. Al Ihsan Charity Association in Al-Mogambo neighbourhood in Aleppo, which provides health care services to over 30 000 people, was reportedly attacked on 2 June 2016 leaving 48 persons injured including 3 medical staff, a pregnant woman who suffered an induced abortion due to shock, several other women and children.
2 June 2016
Amman/Cairo – As fighting and violence escalate across Syria, we risk losing the opportunity to vaccinate and save the lives of more than 1 million children. For example, due to the sharp increase in attacks on health personnel and facilities in Idlib, the immunization campaign in the city has been temporarily halted amid fears for the safety of health workers and the local population.
27 April 2016
From safe blood transfusions in South Sudan to hospital equipment for Yemen: Wide-ranging support from Japan
In a country facing ongoing conflict, safe blood transfusions are a life-saving necessity. They are used to treat those suffering from gunshot wounds and conflict-related injuries, but also children suffering from anaemia due to malnutrition often worsened by malaria, survivors of road traffic accidents and mothers who experience excessive blood loss during childbirth are bleeding severely.
6 April 2016
Kuwait boosts treatments for chronic diseases in Syria
Damascus – With US$ 20 million funding support to WHO humanitarian response in the Syrian crisis, the Kuwaiti Government has boosted the provision of treatments for life-threatening chronic diseases in Syria.
16 March 2016
Five years #WithSyria
Five years of conflict have taken a drastic toll on the health of the Syrian people and their health system. WHO and partners continue to support 13.5 million people in need within Syria and an additional 4.4 million Syrian refugees hosted by neighboring countries.
14 March 2016
Humanitarian sign of hope 5 years into the Syrian conflict: WHO increases its response to reach more people
Five years since the conflict began in Syria, millions of people across the country continue to suffer from limited access to basic medical care services because of ongoing conflict and a deteriorating health system. Over 11 million people are in need of health assistance that many hospitals and primary health clinics are unable to adequately provide. More than 4.8 million people have taken refuge in neighbouring countries and beyond.
3 March 2016
WHO Regional Director calls for urgent funding to support Syria health response
The health situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, not just day by day, but hour by hour. As always in conflict, it is innocent civilians that pay the highest price. Almost two thirds of all Syrians have no access to safe water, putting them at risk of diseases like typhoid and cholera. Throughout the country, almost 300 000 pregnant women are not getting the care they need for a safe and healthy pregnancy. Every month, more than 30 000 people need treatment for injuries. People with chronic diseases are dying of complications that are easily controlled under normal circumstances. Half of all children are missing out on life-saving vaccinations, and one in 4 children is at risk of developing a mental health disorder that will have a long-term impact.
10 February 2016
WHO welcomes unprecedented international support for Syrians
The World Health Organization welcomes the unprecedented support shown by countries participating in the "Supporting Syrians and the Region Conference" in London on 4 February, during which more than US$ 10 billion was pledged to provide humanitarian aid to people affected by the Syrian crisis over the coming 5 years.
4 February 2016
WHO delivers surgical kits and cholera tests for people in need in northern Syrian Arab Republic
On 27 January 2016, WHO shipped 40 emergency surgical kits and 500 cholera tests to northern Syrian Arab Republic to support health operations and assist people on the ground. "One of our priorities is to make sure that humanitarian aid is available when people need it", says Dr Alaa Abou Zeid, Emergency Health Coordinator of WHO's Field Presence in Gaziantep, Turkey.
28 January 2016
The World Health Organization and its partners remain committed to supporting efforts to respond to the critical health needs of the millions of people affected by the conflict inside and outside of Syria. After almost five years of conflict, the population is more vulnerable than ever, particularly to disease outbreaks and malnutrition. Read five facts on the Syrian crisis and its impact on health.
14 January 2015
UNICEF and WHO appeal for the lifting of siege on communities in Syria
This week’s delivery of urgently needed humanitarian supplies to the besieged communities of Madaya, Foua’a and Kafraya is a welcome step for a population in desperate need. During the mission to Madaya, our teams met many distressed and hungry children - some of them severely malnourished, along with adults in a similar condition.
7 December 2015
In the early hours of 3 October, rockets slammed into a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing at least 14 health workers and injuring 37. An MSF clinic in the southern Yemen city of Taiz was bombed on 2 December, injuring 9 people, including 2 MSF staff. Since 2012, almost 60% of hospitals in Syria have been partially or completely destroyed, and more than half of the country’s health workers have fled or been killed.
27 October 2015
After more than four years of crisis, 13.5 million Syrians are currently in need of humanitarian assistance – a number comparable to the populations of Switzerland and New Zealand combined. At a Member State briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday, 27 October, the World Health Organization restated its commitment to the people of Syria and called on the global community to come together to address rising health needs.
23 September 2015
Since armed unrest erupted more than 4 years ago in Syria, resulting in huge movements of the population inside the country and spilling into neighboring countries, WHO has taken a lead role – one that continues in the face of crippling funding shortfalls - to support the displaced.
6 July 2015
WHO and partners call for greater funding for the regional response to the Syrian crisis
“Governments dealing with the fallout of the Syria crisis are under incredible strain to address the health needs of their own people in addition to those of Syrian refugees,” said Chris Maher, manager of WHO’s emergency support team for the Syria crisis, based in Amman, Jordan. “There is drastic need for increased funding, particularly for the health sector to ensure the continued provision of health services and to build and strengthen national systems so that they are able to cope with the increased burden,” he said.
18 June 2015
WHO airlifts from Damascus medical supplies to the besieged Deir ez-Zor city and Qamishly
Damascus – A cargo plane carrying 15 metric tonnes of much needed life-saving medicines and surgical supplies for almost 40 000 people landed in Deir ez-Zor city. This shipment is the second airlift that WHO has delivered this week. On Sunday, an airlift of 30 metric tonnes of chronic disease medicines, including for hypertension, diabetes, epilepsy, mental illness, as well as surgical supplies landed in Qamishly carrying assistance for some 78 000 people.
26 May 2015
WHO partners with MENTOR Initiative to control leishmaniasis in Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor
In a strategic effort to control outbreaks of leishmaniasis in the hard-to-reach and opposition-controlled areas, WHO partnered with MENTOR Initiative to distribute long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINS) for over half a million beneficiaries in Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor governorates of northern Syria.
15 May 2015
WHO–Kuwait partnership to help the people of Syria
After 4 years of conflict in Syria, over 50% of the population does not have access to safe drinking- water and proper sanitation. The innumerable disruptions in water supply services and the significant increase of internally displaced persons have added additional burden on the water supply infrastructure. This has resulted in outbreaks of waterborne diseases, such as hepatitis A and typhoid, rendering millions vulnerable to life-threatening illnesses.
27 March 2015
Millions of Syrians endure deteriorating health crisis: WHO calls for increased funding
Aleppo, Syria -- Ahead of third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait, the World Health Organization (WHO) appeals for US$ 124 million to continue its support to health services in the Syrian Arab Republic. “Scenes of severely injured children and civilians are yet another stark reminder of the immense and continuous suffering of the Syrian people” says Ms. Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative in Syria, who visited Al Razy hospital in Aleppo shortly after scores of war wounded people were brought in on 23 March.
19 December 2014
For 2015, WHO Syria will require over US$ 116 million to continue to provide life-saving medical treatments and improve access to health services across the war-torn country. “Without these resources people will be unable to access life-saving medicines, medical supplies and equipment,” said Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative to Syria. She added that the needs were sharply increasing and the lives of thousands of Syrians were at danger.
The lives of thousands of Syrians have been devastated as a result of the turmoil that has engulfed the country for the past three years. Moustafa’s case is no exception.
12 September 2014
WHO and Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) deliver medical aid to opposition-controlled areas in Daraa and Rural Damascus
The World Health Organization (WHO) together with SARC delivered medical assistance from Damascus to hard-to-reach locations in Daraa and Rural Damascus governorates.
21 August 2014
A US$45 million donation to the World Health Organization from Kuwait has saved the lives and addressed the health needs of millions of people affected by the conflict in Syria, a new WHO report says.
15 August 2014
Crossing the buffer zone between government and oppostion-controlled territory, urgently needed surgical and medical supplies are delivered to besieged eastern Aleppo by WHO and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC). The humanitarian situation in the area is acute and there has been a shortage of basic medical supplies since the onset of the conflict in Syria in 2011. This life-saving delivery took place following a ceasfire agreement between the government and the opposition.
31 July 2014
WHO and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Reach Eastern Aleppo City and Mouadamiya in rural Damascus
Subsequent to an agreement with the Syrian government and the opposition, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) have delivered surgical and medical assistance to besieged eastern Aleppo and communities in Mouadamiya in Rural Damascus.
28 May 2014
WHO has helped to bring life-saving medicines and medical supplies to thousands of people in the besieged Syrian town of Douma for the first time in 18 months. Two WHO trucks loaded with urgently needed supplies to support the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the local health authorities reached the town in the East Ghouta area on Saturday as part of a UN inter-agency convoy.
5 May 2014
WHO delivers life-saving medicines and surgical supplies to Ar-Raqqah governorate
The World Health Organization (WHO) has supplied crucial medicines and medical equipment, including surgical supplies and dialysis sessions to Ar-Raqqah governorate in north central Syria to support over 117 000 vulnerable people.
27 April 2014
Damascus – The World Health Organization (WHO) and its health partners have launched the fourth World Vaccination Week in Syria which is taking place from 26 April to 1 May 2014.
23 April 2014
The heads of UN humanitarian agencies issued a joint statement on behalf of the millions of people affected by the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic. The appeal calls on all parties to the conflict to 1) take urgent action to enable unconditional humanitarian access to all people in need; 2) lift the sieges on civilians; and 3) end the indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilians.
9 April 2014
WHO supports provision of vital medicines in Syria with funding from the Government of Kuwait
The World Health Organization (WHO) has received a contribution of US$ 10 million from the Government of Kuwait to support its activities in Syria as a result of the crisis. This contribution is a continuation of the US$ 35 million support already provided by Kuwait in 2013.
30 March 2014
WHO delivers urgently-needed medicines and medical supplies to Lattakia
The World Health Organization (WHO) is responding to the emerging health needs in Lattakia governorate by supporting local health authorities with critical medicines and medical supplies.
25 March 2014
A 78-truck United Nations convoy has delivered humanitarian supplies for thousands of vulnerable and displaced people in the Syrian Arab Republic.
19 March 2014
WHO delivers medical supplies airlifted from Damascus to hard-to-reach areas in north-east Syria
Qamishli, Syria –– The second of a series of airlifts from Damascus supplying the northeastern governorate of Al-Hasakah with medical supplies for more than 335 000 vulnerable and displaced Syrians landed on Tuesday at Qamishli airport.
5 March 2014
Syria polio outbreak adds burden to an already damaged health system
In an isolated room on the fifth floor of the children’s hospital in Damascus lay 5-year old Islam Hameed. She was one of the first confirmed polio cases identified in Syria last October. As of 5 March 2014, 25 polio cases have been confirmed in Syria, of which 17 were reported in Deir ez-Zor governorate. All children were very young and many aged 2 years or under, and were found to be un- or under-immunized.
2 March 2014
Polio outbreak response under way to protect children in five highest-risk countries .
Children in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Syria will be the first of nearly 10 million children across the Middle East to receive a dose of polio vaccine this month.
10 February 2014
Medical supplies air-delivered to north-east Syria
10 February 2014 – The World Health Organization (WHO) started this week to deliver medicines, vaccine and medical supplies to north-east Syria by chartered flights from the capital Damasacus.
3 February 2014
Media centre New polio vaccination round begun in Syria
Homs, Syria – The queue was already formed when three volunteer polio vaccinators arrived at ‘Mohammed El Durra’ school in Homs that was transformed last year into a shelter for over 500 displaced people.
29 January 2014
WHO delivers supplies to expand access to free emergency health services in Homs
29 January 2014 | Homs, Syria -- In 2014 the Syrian Arab Republic will need more than US$ 450 million to provide essential and life-saving medicines and medical supplies to 9.3 million people in both government and opposition-controlled areas. WHO convened a meeting of national and international experts in Damascus last week to update the essential medicines list. Beside supplies for treatment of conflict-related injuries, the list includes life-saving medicines and medical supplies needed for diseases such as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, reproductive health, as well as critical hospital equipment.
27 January 2014
This year Syria will need more than US$ 450 million to provide essential and life-saving medicines and medical supplies to 9.3 million people in both in government- and opposition-controlled areas. At the meeting convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Damascus last week, national and international experts updated the essential medicines list. Beside supplies for treatment of conflict-related injuries, the list includes life-saving medicines and medical supplies needed for diseases such as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, reproductive health, as well as critical hospital equipment.
7 January 2014
Over the past 2 weeks WHO delivered 2 shipments with more than 125 tons of medical equipment and medicines to health providers in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic – in both government-controlled and in opposition-controlled areas. All shipments contained surgical materials, medicines to treat chronic and infectious diseases, infant incubators, ventilators and intensive care unit (ICU) beds.
3 December 2013
The push to immunize all children against polio has been hampered by the ongoing crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic. WHO and UNICEF have appealed to all parties to cooperate, including through temporary pauses in hostilities where needed, to allow vaccination campaigns to take place and for all children to be protected.
13 November 2013
WHO update on polio outbreak in Middle East
A comprehensive outbreak response continues to roll out across the Middle East following confirmation of the polio outbreak in the Syrian Arab Republic.
8 November 2013
Vaccination campaign in Syrian Arab Republic
The largest-ever consolidated immunization response in the Middle East is under way to stop a polio outbreak, aiming to vaccinate over 20 million children in seven countries and territories repeatedly.
3 June 2013
WHO warns of disease epidemics
WHO warns of increased risk of disease epidemics in Syrian Arab Republic and in neighbouring countries as summer approaches.
15 January 2013
WHO's scaling up response to the crises
WHO is establishing an emergency support team to provide technical and operational support to its offices in the Syrian Arab Republic and the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey.