Tafas Hospital suffers lack of services, medical staff
Daraa – Halim Muhammad
Tafas Governmental Hospital in the southern Daraa governorate is witnessing a decline in medical services as a result of the severe shortage of medical personnel, in addition to the shortage of supplies and the malfunction of some major devices, which has led to entire departments being out of service, and has affected its ability to serve a large number of the region’s residents.
The hospital is the only state-owned health facility in the western countryside of Daraa. It serves about 400,000 people from the city of Tafas and the villages of the Yarmouk Basin, Tal Shihab, Dael, Yadouda, and al-Muzayrib.
Ahmed, 40, from the western countryside of Daraa, underwent abdominal surgery in Tafas Hospital in August, but after having the operation, he bought many medical supplies because they were not available in the hospital, such as sterilizers, gauze, serums, and some medicines, at a cost that reached about 100,000 pounds, according to what he told Enab Baladi.
Zuhair, 28, went to the hospital last February to undergo a cesarean section for his wife. He told Enab Baladi, but it turned out that gynecological operations there had stopped after the only gynecologist left about a year ago.
This forced the family to go to Daraa private hospitals, and they were forced to pay one million Syrian pounds for the operation.
The trading rate of the Syrian pound against $1 reached 13,700 on September 21, according to the S-P Today currency website.
A medical source at Tafas Hospital, who requested to remain anonymous for security reasons, told Enab Baladi that the Daraa Health Directorate’s coverage of medical supplies is “scarce” and not sufficient to serve the hospital’s work.
Therefore, the administration is forced to purchase some supplies from the local market and oblige patients to pay their price for the benefit of a special fund within the hospital, which covers the costs of these supplies on the one hand and the wages of workers on the other hand.
One of the nurses in the hospital told Enab Baladi that the lack of medical materials is one of the most important obstacles facing the hospital’s work, yet the patient pays nominal amounts that are much lower than the amounts of private hospitals.
The costs of performing an appendix operation, for example, reach about 100,000 Syrian pounds, while they reach about 800,000 Syrian pounds in the city’s private hospitals.
The medical source explained that the lack of support in staff and services is a general condition experienced by all state hospitals in the governorate.
Mahmoud, one of Tafas’ notables, who requested that his full name not be mentioned for security reasons, told Enab Baladi that the local community called on the Daraa Health Directorate many times to provide the necessary support to the hospital.
Although the health director visited the hospital two years ago and pledged to increase support, the situation has not changed since then.
About a year ago, a simple X-ray imaging machine broke down and has not yet been repaired, which prevents the diagnosis of emergency cases related to fractures, bruises, and various diseases.
According to the resident doctor, the hospital administration submitted a written letter to repair the device to the Health Directorate several times without receiving any response at the time of publishing this report.
As a result of the malfunction, patients are asked to go to private radiology centers in the city.
Lack of medical personnel
The gynecological surgery department was closed about a year ago after two female doctors resigned from working at the hospital, and the incubator department was also closed due to the lack of a specialized pediatrician.
A section of the hospital’s medical staff is working for free after they were fired since the regime took control of southern Syria in July 2018, as they receive symbolic wages from some patients.
Despite the regime conducting a “security search” for the hospital staff and making many promises that the employees would return to work, the Ministry of Health has not responded to this day.
The medical source at the hospital attributed the reasons for the weakness of the medical staff to the Ministry of Health’s failure to approve the return of staff dismissed in 2018.
In addition to the continuous migration outside the country, which has deprived the health sector in Daraa of most of its personnel from unique specialties such as pediatrics, vascular medicine, cardiology, neurosurgery, and hematology.
The regime-controlled areas, in general, suffer from a significant shortage of medical personnel in various specialties due to the migration of most doctors and the conditions for practicing the profession in light of severe economic, living, and service crises without feasible governmental solutions that may help mitigate the effects of the scarcity of necessary medical specialties.
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