New pediatric surgical intensive care unit opens in Idlib

The newly established pediatric surgical intensive care unit at Bab al-Hawa Hospital - May 27, 2024 (SAMS)

The newly established pediatric surgical intensive care unit at Bab al-Hawa Hospital - May 27, 2024 (SAMS)


The Bab al-Hawa Hospital in Idlib, northwestern Syria recently opened the pediatric surgical intensive care unit, which provides its services free of charge in the region.

The newly established unit offers advanced healthcare for children who have undergone surgeries and are at high risk, or who have suffered multiple traumas or war injuries. It is supported by the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).

Around 30 children monthly

SAMS mentioned that this unit is the first of its kind in northwestern Syria to provide free services and accommodates around 30 children monthly, equipped with the latest medical devices.

Dr. Mahmoud Qaddah, a specialist in pediatric and neonatal surgery, told Enab Baladi that the newly created pediatric surgical intensive care unit at Bab al-Hawa Hospital was added to the existing pediatric surgery department, which has been there since 2014.

The doctor stated that the previous unit (since 2014) consisted of an incubator unit, which is considered an intensive care unit for newborns with deformities, while children over three months old who underwent surgeries were transferred to adult intensive care due to the lack of other options.

The doctor explained that transferring a child patient to adult intensive care is undesirable because mixing children with adults exposes them to significant risks such as infection. He pointed out that having a separate intensive care unit for children ensures better care and a higher control to prevent infections.

The doctor added that what distinguishes the newly established unit is the provision of both surgical and internal care, which is not available in northern Syrian hospitals. He mentioned that there is a pediatric surgeon and a pediatric doctor available around the clock in the unit to continuously monitor the children’s conditions.

The doctor considered the establishment of the unit an “excellent” step to isolate children and provide them with specialized medical care, noting that there are efforts to further develop the unit in the future.

A struggling sector

The medical sector in northern Syria suffers from a lack of equipment and staff, and weak funding. Medical facilities are also targeted by Syrian regime forces and their allies.

In early October 2023, five medical facilities in Idlib were directly targeted by regime forces, including the National Hospital of Idlib and the University Hospital.

In a previous conversation with Enab Baladi, Idlib Health Director Dr. Hossam Qara Mohammed said that the medical sector is undergoing a real crisis due to the bombardment the region witnessed, in addition to some hospitals going out of service, and the direct targeting of medical staff, putting them at risk.

Patients in Idlib resort to charitable pharmacies to obtain free medicines, most of which are expired, as they cannot afford to buy medication. Enab Baladi observed the severe overcrowding in some pharmacies that provide free medicines, of which there are very few in Idlib.


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