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Syrian Conflict Destroying Country’s Health Care System

“The nearly two-year conflict in Syria has taken tens of thousands of lives, destroyed entire neighborhoods and sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing. But more quietly, it has also eaten away at the country’s health care system,” IRIN reports. Many pharmaceutical factories, “which used to produce more than 90 percent of the country’s drug needs,” have shut down or cut production, the news service writes, adding, “Those medicines that are available have also risen in price, and amid skyrocketing unemployment and rising food prices, many Syrians — especially those displaced from their homes by the violence — are struggling to afford their usual medication.”  

“The shortage of medicines is just one part of an exploding health care crisis in Syria, as hospitals run out of space and supplies, health workers struggle to get to work, patients lose access to health facilities, and medicines shoot up in price,” according to IRIN. “Fighting has partly or completely destroyed half the country’s 88 public hospitals, with 23 of them not functioning at all,” and “[o]f 1919 health centers, 186 have also been damaged, with 106 of them not functional,” the news service notes. IRIN describes some of the steps residents are taking to receive health care and efforts by the WHO and non-governmental organizations to provide health care services and supplies (12/11).