Civil initiatives to equip al-Hirak city hospital in Daraa

Al-Hirak Hospital in the eastern countryside of Daraa - March 17, 2024 (Enab Baladi)

Al-Hirak Hospital in the eastern countryside of Daraa - March 17, 2024 (Enab Baladi)


Daraa – Sarah al-Ahmad

Residents of al-Hirak city in eastern Daraa province have launched a fundraising campaign to complete the equipping of a hospital in the city following its repair, to serve its inhabitants and those of the surrounding areas.

The hospital went through two phases, the first was in 2022, aiming to repair the damage caused by Russian airstrikes during military operations in the province in 2018.

The second phase was launched by dignitaries and residents of the city in mid-2023 and is still ongoing. This phase aims to complete the hospital’s medical furnishings.

Complete absence of organizations

Engineer Omar, who is supervising the hospital’s equipping stages, told Enab Baladi that the work relies entirely on local and civil initiatives only, without any private or government organizations participating.

Omar (who requested not to disclose his full name due to security concerns) stated that the initiatives were launched by residents of al-Hirak city, and by neighboring villages and towns like Alma and al-Soura villages, eastern and western Maliha towns, Nahta, and Busra al-Harir and al-Karak al-Sharqi cities.

The initiative runners managed to collect $300,000 distributed over two phases: the first aimed to repair the hospital and outfit its external structure, extend electricity and sewage lines, besides fitting windows and doors.

The currently ongoing second phase relies on purchasing surgical room equipment and some necessary devices to complete the obstetrics, emergency, and pediatrics departments, according to Omar.

The engineer said that reopening the hospital aims to relieve people of the difficulty of going to other hospitals in Daraa province that might be far from their residence areas, thus incurring high transportation costs, especially taxi fares.

In addition to that, the city’s youth’s fears of security prosecution outside their towns and villages are a reason for the hospital’s repairs, avoiding the need to pass through military checkpoints.

From a hospital to a clinic

A doctor working in the administrative department at al-Hirak Hospital told Enab Baladi that the campaign managed to secure operational department supplies in the hospital except for the radiology and dialysis department.

Moreover, he stated that the local community initiative purchased the supplies, yet most of them have not been put to use due to the hospital’s lack of security clearance.

The hospital activity is currently limited to medical clinics, to avoid violations.

The doctor, who also withheld his name for security concerns, mentioned that the hospital suffers from a shortage of medical and nursing staff.

The hospital is now striving to open the surgical operations department and to contract with doctors of all specializations, allocating a symbolic amount for each surgical procedure to cover the expenses of contracting with doctors.

During the past four months, the hospital has dealt with more than 2,500 emergency and nursing cases, and more than 25 natural childbirths.

The doctor pointed out that part of the treatment is not available at the hospital, and patients have to buy it themselves, while other treatments are available and free at the hospital itself.

He called for international organizations to intervene to fill the gap in medical supplies and medicines due to the failure of the Daraa Health Directorate to provide necessary materials.

Residents await the opening

Mohammed (54 years old), a confectionery shop owner from al-Hirak city, eagerly waits for the complete opening of the surgical operations and dialysis department.

Mohammed believes that the opening of the new hospital will end the residents’ suffering of commuting between al-Hirak and government and private hospitals in Daraa cities.

Mohammed has his own experience with commuting between his city al-Hirak and distant hospitals, as he tries to treat one of his kidneys, bearing the transportation costs which he considered one of the reasons for the difficulty of treatment.

Among other reasons Mohammed mentioned to Enab Baladi, are fears of the regime’s security checkpoints spread on the main roads between al-Hirak city and Daraa city.

Jamilah (32 years old), a classroom teacher from al-Hirak city, said to Enab Baladi that the al-Hirak Hospital has recently contributed to treating some diseases and performing normal deliveries, in addition to the emergency services it provides, most of which are free.

The Directorate of Health: All talk and no action

Dr. Bassam al-Suwaidan, Director of Health in Daraa, explained to Tishreen official newspaper in mid-November 2023 that the ground floor within the damaged and out-of-service al-Hirak Hospital building has recently been rehabilitated, in cooperation with the local community.

He added that the directorate had finished installing medical equipment and supplies, simultaneously with assigning medical, nursing, and technical staff to work in the opened departments.

These statements by the Director of Health were preceded by medical sources at al-Hirak Hospital confirming that the hospital suffers from a shortage of medical staff and nurses. Currently, the workforce counts 15 doctors and nurses. Additionally, the Daraa Health Directorate has been neglecting its duties in securing the supplies, as it is the official responsible entity.


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