Idlib opens first hospital to fight COVID-19 

Supplying medical equipment at the coronavirus isolation hospital in Idlib - 9 June 2020 (SAMS)

Supplying medical equipment at the coronavirus isolation hospital in Idlib - 9 June 2020 (SAMS)


Enab Baladi – Idlib

Even though no coronavirus cases have been recorded in Syria’s Idlib yet, the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Foundation in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) has opened the first hospital specializing in the treatment and isolation of the coronavirus patients in Idlib as a precautionary measure.

The “Ziraat Specialized Hospital” was equipped to treat COVID-19 patients, and provide free health services within the available capabilities to the people in northwestern Syria. Two other hospitals are to be fitted in Darat Izza in the western Aleppo countryside, and Salqin in the northern Idlib countryside.

Hospital departments 

The hospital, which opened on 9 June, includes advanced medical technologies and equipment, an intensive care department for critical cases, a department for moderate cases, a hospital ward, a laboratory, and a radiology department, according to the official Facebook page of “SAMS.”

There are ten beds in the intensive care unit, ten beds in the intermediate care department, and five beds in the hospital ward. Besides, the hospital also includes two dialysis machines to treat coronavirus patients who also have kidney failure or acute kidney injuries. The hospital also works to protect its medical cadres and provides them with all medical supplies.

According to SAMS, it took two months to well-equip the hospital in terms of construction, provision of medical technology, and devices, in addition to the preventive and self-protective equipment of the medical staff.

The current center will be developed after a period of time to triple its readiness, according to what Regional Director of SAMS in Turkey and northern Syria, Dr. Mazen Kwara, said to Enab Baladi.

Training workers with different levels of experience

Kwara pointed out that the hospital staff, including doctors, technicians, specialized nurses, and trainers, underwent several training programs according to their levels.

The first training program taught all workers in the medical field, even non-medical workers protection methods, while treating and dealing with COVID-19 patients. 

The second training program targeted doctors who specialize in case management and dealing with COVID-19 patients, intensive care unit doctors, and respiratory medicine specialists, as the program offered enrichment and orientation courses for two days about the coronavirus pandemic based on the coronavirus latest treatment protocols. 

Is Idlib ready to fight the COVID-19 crisis?

The opposition forces in northwestern Syria have only one coronavirus PCR kit in the epidemiological monitoring laboratory in Idlib city, despite the presence of about four million people in the region.

According to Kwara, “the PCR kit is working well until this moment, and enough to detect potential patients with the coronavirus.” It can examine about 100 samples per day. The WHO is preparing another lab in the Afrin region, northwest of Aleppo,  

 However, according to the foundation’s plan in the region, there are no coronavirus testing kits in the isolation hospitals.

Kwara highlighted that “We cannot say that the failure of the COVID-19 pandemic to reach northwestern Syria is a positive or negative indicator.”

The studies of the WHO on the region, according to its criteria, indicate that when the coronavirus hits the area, it will spread dramatically, reaching its peak within a few days. The decline in the number of coronavirus cases will be seen only if social distancing is practiced, and protective masks and gear are worn.  

Northwestern Syria has not recorded any coronavirus cases yet, after conducting about 1117 tests for suspected cases until 12 June, according to what the “interim Syrian government” published on its official Facebook page. 

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