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A Devastating Toll: The impact of three years of war on the health of Syria’s children

This report looks at the devastation of the health system in Syria and what this means for children and their mothers, the “forgotten casualties” killed not by bullets but by a broken health system. It outlines the lack of skilled medical staff and access to child-focused care, equipment and medicine; the impact of the breakdown in the healthcare system on maternal and newborn health; and the rise of vaccine-preventable and infectious diseases in children. In short, Syria’s humanitarian crisis has become a devastating health crisis.

Across Syria, 60% of hospitals and 38% of primary health facilities have been damaged or destroyed, and production of drugs has fallen by 70%.  Nearly half of Syria’s doctors have fled the country: in Aleppo, a city which should have 2,500 doctors, only 36 remain. Vaccine programmes in Syria have collapsed, with a peacetime coverage rate of 91% falling to 68% just a year after the conflict began; this rate is likely to be far lower today. These are just a few of the results of Syria’s collapsed healthcare system. 

The report concludes with recommendations for not only those involved in the conflict, but also caregivers in the field who struggle daily to provide adequate care.

Published 2014-03-25

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