Crisis in Syria: 11 years on, health needs still urgent

16 March 2022 - With the crisis in Syria now entering its twelfth year, the country’s fragile health system remains under the strain of multiple concurrent socioeconomic and health emergencies. They include the COVID-19 pandemic and uneven availability and quality of health services across the country that impact many Syrians’ physical and mental well-being. Those who cannot afford treatment are most affected by continuing disruptions of basic supply chains of life-saving medicines and medical supplies.

Nevertheless, even as their health needs remain urgent, the people of Syria remain resilient, hopeful, and determined. WHO staff continue working hand in hand with health authorities, peer agencies and nongovernmental organizations to deliver life-sustaining and life-saving services and support for immunization, emergency responses to communicable diseases and disease outbreaks, and targeted interventions to protect and improve the health of children, mothers, persons living with co-morbidities, mental health conditions and physical disabilities.

Additionally, WHO continues to ensure access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene in health facilities, as well as undertaking nutrition surveillance and provision of malnutrition services. Rehabilitation and emergency referral services are also being provided to persons with disabilities, dialysis, burns, trauma and cancer.

Building a resilient and responsive health system in Syria requires a dual approach — firstly, of needs- and evidence-based humanitarian and lifesaving response — in hot spots and high severity areas, and in response to outbreaks, including COVID-19. And secondly, through ongoing investments in health system resilience and expansion of access — including kick-starting primary- and secondary-level services where possible.

WHO’s service to the people of Syria continues to serve their needs, in dedication to the well-being of all people and guided by science, to give everyone, everywhere, an equal chance to live a healthy life.