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Lack of medical supplies in Idlib aggravates patients’ suffering

A wounded child in an Idlib hospital following the shelling of Ariha on July 25, 2019 (Enab Baladi)

A wounded child in an Idlib hospital following the shelling of Ariha on July 25, 2019 (Enab Baladi)

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Enab Baladi – Idlib | The medical situation in Idlib Governorate, particularly in public hospitals, is aggravating due to the lack of medical equipment, which has profoundly negative effects on the patients and increases their suffering, forcing them to resort to private hospitals, and pay sums of money that deepen their financial crisis.

Enab Baladi surveyed the opinions of a segment of the residents of Idlib city regarding the lack of medical equipment, via “Shu Moshkeltak” (What is Your Problem) program, which it broadcasts on its social media platforms every Monday and Friday.

Specific devices missing

According to Enab Baladi’s survey, specific medical devices are scarce in public hospitals in the governorate, and do not cover the population’s need. Adding to that, the absence of other devices in areas controlled by the opposition factions, even in private hospitals, drives people to travel to Turkey in order to receive treatment.

One of the devices, which public hospitals are in need of, is a Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This machine employs a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the organs and tissues inside the human body.

The cost of the MRI in Idlib is estimated at 40,000 Syrian Pounds and the patients need to wait for two months sometimes to have an MRI scan. Public hospitals also need eye examining machines and operating rooms.

Another suffering

Some patients in Idlib resort to private hospitals as a result of the overcrowding in public hospitals. Consequently, they are treated in a disrespectful way by the medical staff of public hospitals.

Some respondents to the survey indicated that resorting to private hospitals worsens the patients’ living conditions, as the price of surgeries in private hospitals is estimated at $ 400 (about 315,000 Syrian Pounds).

Some of the residents of Idlib, who responded to the poll, blamed the donors and the people who undertook the responsibility to introduce the medical situation of the region to the humanitarian organizations for the lack of medical equipment in the governorate.

A number of the participants blamed the Salvation Government, saying that the authorities are in control of Idlib and are therefore responsible for securing the supplies of vital sectors, while others indicated that the Idlib Health Directorate is making efforts to secure equipment and medicines for public hospitals. However, those attempts were not sufficient to cover the population’s need.

Need for support

Head of the vaccination department in the Idlib Health Directorate, Rafat Farhat, confirmed to Enab Baladi that there is a lack of a set of specific medical equipment, such as the MRI machine, as there is one device in the public sector, in addition to the lack of cardiac catheterization equipment and a specialized cardiac surgery centre, as well as to laboratories specialized in cancer and hormone analyses.

Farhat pointed out that these devices need funds and manufacturers ready to supply the public medical sector with these devices, which are currently unavailable in Idlib.

He also explained that public hospitals have some good, but insufficient equipment; noting that “the solution now is to rely on the available devices, and in case we need other devices, which we do not have,  we must then resort to the private sector.”

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