Over 20 doctors have volunteered to provide medical care for the poor and needy families in Qamishli in Syria. Each day over 100 people benefit from this medical assistance.
For many Muslims, the month of Ramadan is synonymous with family, community and charity. Such values are ever-more pertinent in present-day Syria where the years-long conflict has resulted in the displacement of nearly half the country’s population, many of whom are suffering from dire economic conditions and worsening health standards. In a bid to provide some relief, a charitable organisation in Qamishli City in northern Syria has organised an initiative to provide needy patients with free healthcare during Ramadan.
The initiative of al-Akhea Organisation targets the poorer locals in Qamishli and the surrounding towns, as well as those who have been displaced from Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour. The initiative allows al-Akhea to provide a transfer receipt for needy patients, serving as the certification for obtaining free health checks and basic treatment from the 20 participating doctors. As a result of this initiative, the doctors have been able to treat around 100 patients a day.
The initiative comes as a relief for the patients who have not been able to obtain healthcare due to the skyrocketing costs caused by the collapse of the Syrian economy, healthcare sector and the devaluing of the Syrian Lira against the dollar. Today, a regular doctor’s checkup costs about $6. It would seem an insignificant expense, but in a region like Qamishli where monthly incomes do not exceed $100, it is still steep.
For the doctors here, however, the charity is its own point and they hope that the initiative can run the whole year, rather than just during Ramadan.
Although the initiative offers a vital service, it is unfortunately a small fix for the myriad problems plaguing the health sector in Qamishli and the wider country. Many patients here complain that pharmacies apply inconsistent pricing for the same drugs due to lack of regulation. The situation is not helped due to the short supply of many vital drugs. Meanwhile, more complex surgeries, which are outside the scope of what al-Akhea can offer, remain outside the economic range of ordinary Syrians.