Abu Hussam, a father of four, shares the concerns of many displaced families in the Idlib camps, as they face poor living and economic conditions. However, his life took a turn for the worse after he lost his foot in the earthquake of the century, and subsequently lost his job in the construction industry. He now spends his days bedridden in the camps of northwestern Syria, worrying about his future and that of his children.
In the early years of the Syrian revolution, local and international medical organizations were always on the lookout for amputees to provide them with treatment and prosthetic limbs. However, amputees, today find it increasingly difficult to find a place to adopt them, according to Abu Hussam, who relies on crutches to move around near his tent and is “deprived of finding a job”.
Mustafa Al-Jazi, the medical coordinator of WATAN, explained that “many of those recovered from the rubble suffered from limb crushing syndrome, which necessarily leads to amputation.” He fears a “limb” crisis if donors fail to respond, adding that “the crisis will be more evident after three months when the injured person has finished emergency treatment and is physically able to install and use the prosthetic limb.”
Responding to this urgent need, WATAN has opened a center for the installation of prostheses in Al-Amal Hospital for Orthopedic Surgery in the city of Salqin, in partnership with the Handicap organization operating in the northwestern regions of Syria. The project runs from March to September 2023 and targets all those injured who have had previous amputations in their feet or during the earthquake disaster.
Al-Jazi stated that the project also aims to establish a mechanism for the adaptation and integration of war and earthquake victims into society, restoring a large part of their normal life and moving them from the stage of seeking permanent assistance to the stage of self-reliance and helping others. This is a qualitative step towards reviving and treating society after the long wars in Syria have created material and human problems.
Abu Hussam expresses hope that, after installing the prosthesis, he can secure some of the household needs by securing a fixed business that does not require physical exertion, such as selling vegetables or simple foodstuffs in the neighborhood.
WATAN’s healthcare program is focused on rehabilitating war-damaged centers and building a stable healthcare system in Syria by providing health-related humanitarian assistance. The program has already benefited over 1.4 million direct beneficiaries until 2023. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in northern Syria, WATANhas shown an unwavering commitment and resilience in saving lives and alleviating suffering. The impact of their efforts in the healthcare sector is commendable and underscores the urgent need for continued support and assistance from donors, supporters, and international organizations to ensure that vulnerable groups in northern Syria have access to the healthcare they desperately need.
WATAN’s prosthetics center is one of the many initiatives the organization has undertaken to improve the lives of those affected by war and natural disasters in Syria. With a special focus on the most vulnerable, the organization’s efforts have positively impacted the community, restoring hope and building resilience. WATAN’s work highlights the importance of humanitarian assistance and its role in lifesaving.