“Surely these kits saved lives in Syria”

Stock photo of Syrian boy. Courtesy: Global Medic

Healthcare practitioners in Syria have the capacity to save lives in one of the worst conflicts afflicting the world today thanks to a provision of medical relief from Health Partners International of Canada. Program partner Global Medic reported to HPIC about the distribution of 100 Humanitarian Medical Kits earlier this year. This was enough donated medicine to treat an estimated 25,000 Syrian kids and adults.

HPIC’s partner is Global Medic, a Canadian organization that provides short-term, rapid response in the wake of disasters and crises in Canada and overseas. Both HPIC and Global Medic have been responding to the Syrian crisis since 2011.

“The impact of the donation was truly maximized by serving a high-risk population that is not easily accessed by international aid efforts,” wrote Matt Capobianco, Global Medic’s Deputy Director and coordinator of their Syrian relief projects, in the report to HPIC.

“The conditions in the healthcare facilities in the region are deplorable – with immense gaps in essential medicines and supplies – yet the need for medical service in the region is at an all-time high,” Matt wrote. “The support that these centres received was essential in ensuring that physicians and health practitioners had access to essential medicines and supplies in order to continue treating patients. The importance of receiving these medical supplies cannot be overstated.”

Undisclosed facility 

The kits arrived in Syria at an undisclosed health facility and are currently being used to care for an extremely vulnerable population.

The kits arrived in Turkey by air freight, Matt reported, and then were delivered to their local partners. “Despite medical professionals fighting to continue providing critical medical care to vulnerable civilians, access to even basic medicines and supplies is highly restricted at a time when they are at greatest risk.

“Surely these kits saved lives in Syria,” Matt said. “This response is restoring a sense of security for beneficiaries as they are accessing the care and treatment they need. Men, women, children, infants, the elderly, and those with disabilities are included in the scope of targeted beneficiaries.”

Since this is an active combat zone, Global Medic cannot divulge the names of hospitals, partners or doctors dispensing the medicines. “I can tell you that I I am in frequent contact with the field,” Matt told HPIC.

Health concerns 

“The primary health concerns and medical issues were specific to war-related traumas, which are the main cause of death in the targeted region, as reported through mortality surveys conducted by the World Health Organization,” reported Global Medic.

“For example, nearly 27,000 war-related trauma cases were treated in November 2016 alone. Idlib Governorate remains the primary destination for citizens fleeing other parts of the country, including more than 36,000 in December 2016 alone. This led to an influx of patients requiring care from hospitals and mobile clinics in Idlib. This movement has also led to increased cold exposure and risk of hypothermia due to poor living conditions and an influx of internally displaced persons. Individuals in this specific context are succumbing to curable diseases and ailments simply due to a lack of access to essential medicines. Communicable diseases including influenza-like illness (ILI), severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), as well as diarrheal diseases and leishmaniasis are among the most prevalent.”

“These kits delivered truly powerful and meaningful impact for the Syrian families seeking medical care in Idlib Governorate,” the report concluded.