Despite Funding Cutoffs, Health Center Of Ma’arret Al-Artik Continues Delivering Services

Ma’arret Al-Artik’s health center (Aleppo Health Directorate)

Ma’arret Al-Artik’s health center (Aleppo Health Directorate)


Funding cuts have been imposed on the health center in Ma’arret Al-Artik, east of Mount Simeon in the north-west of Aleppo, depriving thousands of monthly beneficiaries of its services. 

However, the health center’s staff_ doctors and nurses_ have chosen to render their services voluntarily, waiting for a solution.

On September 30, the director of the health center, Yousuf Muhanna, was informed of the cuts on aids by the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).

SAMS was responsible for delivering funds to the Aleppo Health Directorate that the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) actually provides.

Muhanna was surprised by the news, as it means that support will be limited to health centers in the eastern part of Mount Simeon; centers of Anadan and Haritan.

Inquiring into the cutoffs, he was answered that the downsized support was decided based on “an assessment of the region’s needs,” given that the area’s population exceeds the mark of 70 thousand persons, as Muhanna informed Enab Baladi.


 ‘Substandard’ ongoing services

The health center consists of an internal medicine clinic and another that is gynecological, in addition to an emergency department, fully equipped with a cardiac ultrasound machine and other medical equipment. Besides, there is a pharmacy that supplies patients with medications free of charge.

The health center renders its services to 3,000 beneficiaries, equivalent to 120 beneficiaries per day, Yousef Muhanna, the director of the health center, pointed out, driving these figures from the statistics collected in September this year.

The center’s staffers, including a general practitioner, a general surgeon, a certified midwife and two nurses, declared that they will continue work on a voluntary basis.

Nonetheless, the operational costs of the center still pose a challenge although it has access to solar electricity around the clock, which is provided by the Violet Organization.

Muhanna added that service delivery is not compromised, but the quality is, “for the services have been below the standards required, as some doctors apologized for inability to resume working. Moreover, the midwife and first aid nurses work voluntarily in the women’s clinic which is scheduled to operate for 2 days a week only.”


Concerns about curtailing medical services

The residents of Ma’arret al Artik village fear that the health center will be inoperable, given the shortage of medical services the area is suffering.

The area has only small medical aid units, unable to meet the needs, as Mahmoud al-Harah, a resident from the village, told Enab Baladi.

Al-Harah indicated that the health center in the village of Ma’arret al-Artik has not been designated only to its residents. The residents of the neighboring villages such as Babis, Jakid al Adas and Dael were also benefiting from the center’s services.

In addition, cardiac patients, internal medicine patients and pregnant women were receiving treatment and medicine freely from Ma’arret Al-Artik center.  

The UN defined the percentage of the need for medical services in the north-east of Aleppo as above average, estimating that 13.2 million people need health care in Syria.

The UN is underfunded, for the answer to the support it requested as to cover 2019 needs is declining, receiving only 27.5% of funding up to August, according to (OCHA) Financial Tracking Service (FTS).


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