Idlib: Free medical treatment for patients in need
Idlib – Abdul Karim al-Thalji
The free medical initiatives of private hospitals in northwestern Syria contribute to alleviating the suffering of patients with weak financial capabilities, in light of the great medical need and population density, and in order to encourage more initiatives.
The Ebla Specialist Hospital in the city of Idlib announced its readiness to treat patients free of charge for a period of seven days ended on June 27, as a result of the high costs of treatment in clinics and private hospitals, with the continued deterioration of the economic conditions of the people of northwestern Syria.
Doctor Ahmed al-Ali, a specialist in urology and venereal diseases at Ebla Hospital, told Enab Baladi that the initiative came from a “moral and religious” standpoint in order to help patients and reduce the costs of their treatment, as the examinations are free, and the fees for surgeries, laboratory tests, and x-rays are reduced by half.
The doctor added that the target group is all patients, especially the “poor” ones, pointing out that a number of doctors interacted with the initiative and started implementing it in the private clinics and hospitals in which they work and that the initiative was “welcomed” among the popular circles.
In turn, The urologist called on all medical workers in northwestern Syria, especially in hospitals and private clinics, to alleviate the suffering of people who lived through harsh war conditions, and the recent earthquake increased their suffering and the difficulty of their living conditions.
University of Mary initiative
As a result of the high costs of dental treatment, Khaled al-Mustafa, 60, displaced from southern Aleppo to the town of Killi, north of Idlib, was forced to search for free solutions to treat his teeth, after he lost most of them after he was hit by airstrikes in 2015.
Mary Private University of Dentistry announced in 2022 the opening of dental clinics at the university to provide free treatment to patients to alleviate their suffering.
The dental clinics at the University of Mary receive patients from Sunday to Thursday, and their numbers range between 70 and 90 patients per day, according to the clinical cases required for each dental clinic.
The university includes four dental clinics that contain advanced equipment and have 70 dental chairs. Two students each work on one chair, according to what the director of administrative affairs at the private Mary University, Qaddour Qassem, told Enab Baladi.
Qassem explained that all services provided to patients are provided by fourth and fifth-year students and internship students at the university and include the provision of all materials required for dental treatments.
According to the university’s media office, the number of cases dealt with in the current academic year (2022-2023) reached ten thousand and 885 cases. It included the diagnosis of oral diseases, vaccination and periodontal treatment, tooth extraction, dental treatment by restoration, dental prosthesis, endodontic treatment, pediatric dental treatment, and the installation of mobile orthodontics.
Although the University of Mary’s free treatment initiative is very important to the poor, it also provides the essential experience required for dental students attending the university.
The initiative of the University of Mary was well received by the people, especially the poor among them who live in the camps, as the university is located on the outskirts of the town of Hazano, which is a middle area surrounded by IDPs camps on all sides, said the third-year dental student Ahmed al-Akash.
The families communicate with al-Akash on an almost daily basis to inquire about the nature of the service, and about the free materials provided, in addition to the examination, with the aim of visiting the university to receive treatment.
Fifth-year dental student, Khaled al-Tomeh, moved to the clinical stage after completing the laboratory stage to apply what he learned over the course of his five years at the university.
Al-Tomeh said that all the services provided are under the supervision of a group of doctors and academics at the university and that the university provides most of the materials for free.
The student bears the cost of the rest of the materials and consumables, and the service includes all dental treatments such as fillings, nerve extraction, children’s dental treatment, periodontal treatments, and fixed prostheses (crowns and bridges), in addition to mobile prostheses (false teeth or dentures).
Mohamad Mahmoud Bitar, a public employee in Maarat Misrin town, north of Idlib, expressed his admiration for the services provided by Mary University. He told Enab Baladi that the students and supervising doctors treat patients well.
Bitar conducted several sessions to install three orthodontic bridges, which is “expensive” in a private dental clinic.
However, despite the free treatment at the university, he found that private dental clinics show more interest in the patient as a result of paying treatment fees, and the number of patients is less, he said.
The same motive made Khaled Haskour attend the free clinics at the University of Mary. He visited the university for several months in order to install a full dental prosthesis, which costs about $200 at a private clinic.
Haskour, an IDP who was displaced from the al-Ghab Plain to the Deir Hassan camps, north of Idlib, told Enab Baladi that, due to the deteriorating financial situation, he does not think at all of going to private dental clinics and that he often hesitates to go to the university with free clinics, because he has to pay the cost of petrol for his motorcycle, in light of its high price in Idlib.
Haskour complained that the university lacks the process of straightening teeth, dental implants, and a “CT scan” device, as he is forced to pay 150 Turkish liras to obtain the image in private hospitals due to the failure of the device in Bab al-Hawa Hospital, which used to provide the service for free.
In the clinical department, the university has four clinics (anesthesia, surgery, and extraction clinic, pediatric and restorative treatment clinic, diagnostic clinic and periodontal diseases, prosthodontics clinic, and a sensor device that assists in endodontic treatment.
The deficit in the humanitarian response to the medical sector, and the lack of funding for public hospitals and primary care centers, has caused a decline in the medical sector in the region. In addition, the February 6 earthquake destroyed part of its infrastructure, which increased people’s suffering, forcing them to go to private hospitals, where the costs of medicines and treatment are high, with few job opportunities and high unemployment.
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