The war in Syria had a devastating impact on Syria’s healthcare sector since it started in 2011. Once considered one of the best in the Middle East, war conditions, scarcity, the deliberate targeting of medical facilities and the killing of medical professionals all plunged the country in the throes of a healthcare crisis that has seen many diseases previously thought to be eliminated making a return. Aware of the growing healthcare crisis, volunteers have begun organising in the parts of Syria that have calmed down, reopening clinics and medical facilities. One such clinic can be found in the town of Morek, northern Hama.
Morek has been hit particularly hit by the war. Located along Hama’s border with Idlib, Morek was subject to a brutal tug-of-war between government and rebel forces in 2015 that has left 70% of the town, including all its medical facilities, out of service. Even after the rebels established decisive control, airstrikes and sporadic fighting continued. Many of the residents who remained in Morek had few options as far as medical care was concerned. Oftentimes, travelling to the nearby town of Khan Sheikhoun was the only real option.
The opening of a clinic here in Morek itself is therefore a source of many residents who could not travel the distances for basic medial concerns. The clinic here is staffed by 11 nurses who are able to deal with general health concerns. Specialists such as cardiologists also visit occasionally, allowing patients with more specific concerns to be treated. Indeed, the treatment of Leishmaniasis, a bacterial skin condition spread via flies, makes for the most frequent medical concerns outside basic injuries and simple diseases.
The facility serves some 400 local families, with 30 patients visiting the centre each day. Although the volunteers here do their best, they lack specialist equipment, medication and staff. Furthermore, the spectre of the conflict is never too far away. Airstrikes and artillery continue to target the local countryside. Indeed, locals rebuilding the neighbouring town of Kafr Zita found their efforts wasted when the region descended into another bloody conflict.