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Opinion Pieces Address Public Health Crisis In Conflict-Ridden Syria

The following summarizes opinion pieces addressing the ongoing violence in Syria and how it is affecting the country’s health system.

The Guardian: As if Syria didn’t have enough problems, now a polio epidemic looms
Elizabeth Parker-Magyar, news producer at Syria Direct

“The United Nations announcement on [December 22] that it would demand a record-shattering $6.5 billion to fund humanitarian efforts in Syria — as much as it will spend in response everywhere else in the world, combined — underscored the scale of the humanitarian tragedy in Syria. … But no effort will receive more scrutiny than the U.N.’s push to prevent a polio epidemic. … In 2014, let us hope that the United States and its allies can use their influence to ensure that the Syrian government allows humanitarian agencies to distribute polio vaccines throughout Syria, even in rebel-controlled areas” (12/26).

New York Times: Syria’s Raging Health Crisis
Adam Coutts, a researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Fouad Fouad, an assistant research professor in the faculty of health sciences at the American University of Beirut

“The situation [in Syria] is extremely challenging, but humanitarian agencies in the region should be independent and transparent. There are very real challenges for United Nations staff members working in Syria, but the World Health Organization must respond to the claims that it refused to test the Deir al-Zour polio samples, explain why it took three months to confirm a suspected case in July 2013 and give a better account of why the area was excluded from its vaccination drive. Anything short of this disclosure risks causing more preventable deaths, not just in Syria but across the entire region” (1/1).