The exhausted medical sector in northern Syria faced a real disaster in terms of the number of injuries and victims following the devastating earthquake that hit the region on February 6th, last year, which led to a record number of injuries being received, amid the absence of important medical equipment and necessary medical supplies to treat the injured, in addition to a shortage of medical personnel.
Al-Amal Hospital in the city of Salqin was one of the hospitals that worked on a rapid response to earthquake victims and contributed to providing first aid services and major surgeries in the first few minutes of the disaster.
Hossam Al-Mustafa, the hospital director, says: “The number of major surgeries for earthquake victims until the end of March was 358 surgeries and 2039 first aid cases.”
Al-Mustafa adds: “Al-Amal Hospital was the first medical point where we mobilized all of our staff, including those on duty and off duty, and they immediately started providing first aid and surgeries to the injured and wounded.”
He continues, saying: “We stopped receiving cold cases within the major clinics because the hospital was completely full shortly after the earthquake, and there was no longer room for a new patient.”
It is worth mentioning that Al-Amal Hospital is one of the medical points supported and managed by the medical program in WATAN. It was established in 2013 and is specialized in orthopedic surgeries with distinguished medical staff.
On the other hand, many survivors trapped under the rubble suffered spinal injuries due to their long hours under heavy concrete blocks, and due to the lack of free neurological surgeries, Watan provided services to cover the costs of these surgeries.
Mustafa Al-Jazi, the medical coordinator for WATAN Foundation, says: “Fractures in all their types are the most common injuries resulting from disasters. And because spinal fractures are one of the injuries that cause mobility disabilities for the injured and are considered high-cost surgeries, Watan coordinated with partners to carry out surgeries within hospitals that support neurological surgeries while paying the full necessary costs.”
Al Jazi continues: The number of supported operations reached 7 operations that were performed in hospitals in the province, Bab al-Hawa, Idlib, and Al-Amal hospital. The surgeries included neurosurgery, vertebral fixation, and bone surgery to replace a broken hip joint. All operations were successful, and patients are currently in the recovery and follow-up phase by specialist doctors.
According to the World Health Organization, Syria’s healthcare system has been severely affected by the ongoing conflict, leading to a shortage of medical personnel, equipment, and supplies. The earthquake that hit northern Syria last month exacerbated the situation, causing a surge in demand for healthcare services.
The medical program in WATAN Foundation aims to reduce deaths and the spread of diseases and provides sustainable support to medical facilities. It also responds to emergencies by covering the salaries of medical personnel, operational costs, medicines, transportation, and consumables. It also rehabilitates centers affected by war and contributes to building a stable healthcare system in Syria by providing humanitarian health assistance focused on the most vulnerable people. In addition, it strengthens coordination and health information systems to improve the effectiveness of life-saving health responses.
It is worth mentioning that the number of beneficiaries from the medical program has reached over 1.4 million beneficiaries until 2023.
The success of Al-Amal Hospital and WATAN Foundation in responding to earthquake victims is a testament to their commitment to providing quality healthcare services, even in the most challenging circumstances. The support of donors and international organizations is crucial to sustaining their efforts and ensuring that the most vulnerable people in Syria have access to essential.