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13 years of war. Every fourth person is facing disability.

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3 minutes

After 13 years of war and last year’s earthquake, Syrians still experience one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world. In the northwestern part of the country, where a large number of internally displaced persons have sought refuge, 40% of the region’s inhabitants live in camps. Fighting continues, resulting in nearly 200 civilian deaths per month throughout Syria. Doctors collaborating with the Polish Medical Mission are on the brink of exhaustion. The healthcare system only functions thanks to foreign support, which diminishes with each passing year.

The war in Syria has sparked one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the 21st century. Thirteen years after the start of the conflict, according to the UN, 16 million people in the country need humanitarian assistance. Unfortunately, those who have fled the horrors of war live in very poor conditions in neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey. This necessitates aid across the entire Middle Eastern region.

For years, we have been providing assistance not only in Syria itself but also in Jordan and Iraq. One important statistic has remained unchanged for years: the largest number of refugees in the world come from Syria. It’s important for us that Syrians are real, living individuals. It’s 14-year-old Hamza, whom we provided with a prosthetic leg. It’s his peer Dima, who suffered partial paralysis due to the earthquake but is now regaining her mobility thanks to rehabilitation and psychological support.

comments Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart from the Polish Medical Mission.

In northwestern Syria, in areas not controlled by the government, the healthcare situation is dire. Hospitals and clinics have been largely destroyed by years of conflict and last year’s earthquake, with at least half of them losing their full operational capacity. Many doctors commute daily to patients from Turkey due to safety concerns. Financing hospitals is a problem. The local government is unable to sustain them, and currently their operations rely on grants and foreign aid.

Every year, we await decisions from international organizations as if awaiting a verdict: we don’t know if the hospital will still be able to operate, or if we’ll have to abandon our patients. We lack medication and equipment for more complex orthopedic surgeries, which means we can’t help everyone who needs it. We also lack doctors with specifi specialties such as oncologists and cardiologists.

says Dr. Abdul Hameed Al Hussein, medical director of the Syrian Shamrin Hospital, assisted by the Polish Medical Mission.

The number of people with disabilities is also increasing, affecting 25% of the population—almost twice the global average. Already in 2017, the WHO warned that 86,000 people had limbs amputated in Syria. After additional years of conflict and last year’s earthquake, this number has significantly increased, yet there is still a shortage of prosthetics and rehabilitation assistance. This is precisely why, in collaboration with Physicians Across Continents Turkey, the Polish Medical Mission has provided prosthetics to 66 individuals in northwestern Syria since October of last year. Since its inception in Syria, the Polish organization has supported over 350 Syrians in this way, enabling them to return to school, work, and daily life.

The war, ongoing for 13 years, continues to claim innocent lives. In 2023 alone, nearly 2,000 Syrian civilians were killed as a result of armed actions in Syria.



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