Medical care is collapsing as the conflict escalates
Last month Syria’s fragile cease fire was shaken by fierce fighting that broke out near Idlib. Thousands of children, women, and entire families fled from north-western Syria to more stable pockets in neighbourhoods. One of the regions hit was Dana, where MAGNA's medical teams provide medical care in a camp for internally displaced people.
The escalating conflict in north-western Syria is acutely impacting the three million people that live in the region. Infrastructure is crumbling, including hospitals and healthcare centres that are coming more frequently under attack. In recent weeks, more than 300,000 people have left their homes as the war reaches them. Many of them had fled several times before. It is more difficult to cope with the recurring loss of shelter and at least a partial sense of security after the horrors they have witnessed. Whole families have escaped to safety. “In Syria, we have stopped talking about post-traumatic syndrome because such a term is not able to encompass the entire nightmare,”says Operations Director Denisa Augustínová, commenting on the situation. “The intensity of the violence and terror experienced by children and adults caught up in the civil war or spent under the thumb of Islamic State and its aftermath is so great that, from a professional perspective, physicians are already talking about dissociative disorders”.
The UN reports more than 130,000 people newly-displaced at camps around al-Dana.At one near Atmeh, a MAGNA team provides medical care, concentrating on treating toddlers and young children, adolescent girls and women that are pregnant and breast-feeding. These women and their children are receiving urgent life-saving obstetric and neonatal health care.Special attention is paid to those who have survived any type of violence, providing them with post-traumatic and psychological help.
The camps for internally-displaced people are overcrowded. Poor hygiene conditions, lack of clean water and poor vaccination coverage are increasing the risk of disease outbreaks that could have otherwise been prevented,putting great pressure on the medical teams. “Healthcare professionals are dealing, in particular, with injuries, trauma, burns and possible exposure to chemical attacks,”continues Denisa Augustínová. “People not able to reach the camp are living in temporary open-air camps both in the hills and among the adjacent olive tree orchards. ”In some areas, services are virtually impossible to receive because access to them is so complicated. Outside the camps, it is estimated that in recent days nearly 100,000 people have fled bombardments of their neighbourhoods. Mobile clinics are the only way to get medical aid to them.
MAGNA has been giving medical care in Syria since 2016, focusing mainly on maternal and infant health and providing mobile health services. Thanks to our donors, MAGNA is aiding more than 75,000 victims of the conflict in Syria.
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