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Afamia Hospital in Syria’s war-battered Idlib is at high risk of permanent closure

Afamia Hospital in Hama countryside 

Afamia Hospital in Hama countryside 

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Enab Baladi – Idlib

Afamia Hospital in the rebel-held province of Idlib has faced interruption of support. Afamia Hospital has been the only one with 24-hour obstetric and ambulance services, in the midst of a large number of camps, which shelter about 200,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Following the attacks of the Syrian regime and its ally Russia, the hospital relocated its headquarters from Qalaat al-Madiq in the countryside of Hama to the village of Kafr Lusin on the Syrian-Turkish border to resume its work in early June 2019.

Effects of the support cutoff on the hospital

The managing director of the hospital, Maysar Haj Hussein, told Enab Baladi that the hospital had to close the departments of pediatrics, natural childbirth, and then general surgery, Now, only the department of emergency is operating. Haj Hussein highlighted that the medical staff will have to shut down the hospital if the support remains suspended. 

The medical staff has been working without a salary for nearly a year, since September 2019 until now, after the hospital received support from the Doctors Across Continents – PAC -Syrian Expatriate Medical Association for only three months. Currently, all of the medical staff are working on a voluntary basis. 

The medical director of the hospital, Hussein al-Hamidi, said in a video published by the hospital’s management on “Facebook” that the cost of the operational material also stopped, except for the “Sos Syrie France” organization which provided medicines in addition to medical consumables, including medical supplies for patients in surgeries, such as cotton, gauze and sterile.

Various attempts have been made to get some support from the organizations operating in northern Syria and from the health directorate of Idlib. However, the hospital was not able to get any assistance. Hussein complained that the hospital’s team is faced with tough challenges, to the point that they cannot run a power generator to take an X-ray because of the lack of fuel. 

Hospital services before support stops

The hospital used to provide many services, including natural childbirth, and cesarean sections, a pregnant women’s observation room, and general-practice surgery, an orthopedic and neurological clinic, a modern advanced x-ray machine that imaged all limbs, in addition to a pediatric department.

 

The hospital operates 24 hours a day and receives all emergency cases, and the number of the hospital’s patients is between 90 and 100 people a day.

After the pandemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the hospital applied to carry out a project to isolate the coronavirus infected people, because there was no such project in the region. Nevertheless, the hospital did not receive the required cooperation from the “Idlib’s health directorate,” according to the hospital’s administrative director. 

The hospital administration published a set of questions on its Facebook page, demanding to know who is responsible for distributing medical support to the northwest regions of Syria. The administration also stressed that the health ministry and its directorates should assume this responsibility and spread the support according to the needs of the people of the region under demographic and geographical considerations based on scientific foundations and accurate plans.

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