Medically reviewed and approved by a board-certified member
Aid / Disasters

Medical society details Syrian health crisis and efforts to help

By BS MediaTwitter Profile | Published: Sunday, 24 January 2016
Login to get unlimited free access

leadership of the Syrian-American Medical Society describe their efforts in bolstering what remains of the Syrian health care system and the health care context in which those efforts take place in their article, "War is the Enemy of Health: pneumonic, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine in war-worn Syria.

" The article is published online ahead of print in the American pectoral Society journal Annals of the American pectoral Society.

This is a field hospital.
Credit: ATS

The Syrian-American Medical Society was formed shortly after the war began to help Syrian refugees in Turkey. Since then, it has adult into a $25-million enterprise that has helped more than two million people, according to lead author Mohammed Z. Sahloul, MD, a pulmonologist and critical care doctor in Oak field, IL, who served as its president for four years.

The Society provides uptime telemedicine consulting to nine Syrian ICUs. It has conducted 17 "train-the-trainer" webinars for 850 doctors, nurses, paramedics and technicians on so much topics as how to resuscitate trauma patients, the basics of critical care and triaging surgery patients. And in classrooms in Turkey and Lebanon, it has trained Syrian doctors in the use of, and equipped them with, portable ultrasound to diagnose bodily injuries. battery-powered by reversible batteries, this technology has proven especially helpful in the war-worn region prone to power outages.

By all accounts, the health care situation in Syria is grim. The authors cite applied mathematics that they and other organizations have compiled:

  • In the first four years of the conflict, 75,000 civilians died from war injuries; 25 percentage of those killed were women and children.
  • More than doubly that number have died from degenerative and infectious illness because of inadequate medical care.

There is growing incidence of TB among Syrian refugees in Lebanon. 2014 British Medical Journal article found a 27 percentage increase in TB.

  • By 2013, 70 percentage of the health care work force had left the country. In Syria's largest city, Halab, only 70 of the 6,000 doctors who once practiced there remain.
  • Syrian life expectancy has plummeted by 20 years since war bust out.

Responding to this health care crisis has been made much more difficult by the targeting of hospitals and health care workers, primarily by the government but besides by the rebels, according to the authors.

"The Syrian conflict is new in the scale and gravity of the attacks on medical neutrality, which was thing that was in agreement upon 150 years ago in Geneva," Dr. Sahloul aforesaid. "Nearly 700 medical workers have been killed in this war, and more than 300 hospitals attacked, according to Physicians for Human Rights."

Dr. Sahloul decried the absence of a forceful response to these war crimes by doctors and international medical organizations. Medical neutrality, which is designed to protect civilians and the health care professionals who treat them during a war, is thing "sacred among medical professionals," he added.

"The medical community is very late in responding to the situation in Syria," Dr. Sahloul aforesaid. "As doctors, we not only have an obligation, we have a powerful voice to insist that policy makers ensure that populations under besieging have access to care."

The Syrian-American Medical Society has besides documented the use of chemical weapons, some other war crime, by the Syrian armed forces. Since December 2012, the group reports that there have been 152 attacks exploitation cyanogenetic gases, including 8 exploitation GB, which paralyzes metabolism muscles, and 92 with Cl gas, which dissolves respiratory organ tissue.

Dr. Sahloul aforesaid that most people have only detected of the 2013 GB attack that killed 1,400 people and battle-scarred 10,000 others. The Syrian-American Medical Society has trained Syrian health care workers in how to treat patients exposed to chemical agents.

Despite the makeshift conditions under which medical care is provided in Syria, the authors argue that the efforts of the Syrian-American Medical Society and other groups supporting the health care workers leftover in the country should be subject to evaluation and measuring. "A retrospective survey of 527 health care workers trained in portable ultrasound found that 87 percentage had incorporated the technology into the daily management of violent conflict," Sahloul aforesaid. "This technology should be studied in areas of war. It has the potential to save thousands of lives."

Sahloul's observation captures the enlivening principle of the Syrian-American Medical Society implicit in the journal article: even in humankind's darkest moments, caring and rational people can provide light.

Was this page helpful?
(0 votes)
End of the article