Syria remains one of the world's most complex humanitarian emergencies. The decade-long crisis has inflicted immense suffering on the civilian population, who has experienced massive and systematic violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, including more than 1,350 attacks on education and medical facilities and related personnel. The bombardment has caused over 12 million people to flee their homes and arbitrary detention, abduction, torture, and other serious abuses. Almost 12,000 children have been killed or injured since 2011, and 47% of young people have had a member of their immediate family or close friend die. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the economic downturn by further reducing already sparse income-generating opportunities in a context where 50% of the workforce is now estimated to be unemployed, curtailing women and children's access to critical services such as reproductive health and malnutrition screening. COVID-19 has also impacted an already debilitated health system in which half of health facilities are partially or completely non-functional. 

IHP made its first ever shipment to Syria in September 2021 through a new partnership with the Independent Doctors Association (IDA). IDA was founded in 2012 by Syrian doctors from Aleppo to respond to the healthcare and humanitarian crisis in their home country. The organisation provides medical and humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict, natural disasters, and epidemics. We shipped around 86,000 treatments of essential medicine including antibiotics and antifungals, as well as a large quantity of deworming treatments. These were distributed to 23 different health facilities, across seven districts which serve a population area of around 2.4 million. 

Shakir lost his family as a result of bombing in Saraqib city, Idlib. He took refuge with his younger brothers in Al-Iman camp near Azaz city, north of Aleppo, where they are cared for by their uncle, who is also displaced.

Shakir's tent is extremely basic and he suffers from a persistent cough due to the burning of plastic to provide heat because other, safer materials are unavailable.  

He visited IDA’s health clinic in Al-Iman camp, where the doctor conducted an examination and some tests. It was found that he was suffering from an acute respiratory infection. The doctor prescribed the appropriate medication for him, including Erythromycin 250mg, and asked him to re-visit the clinic after ten days. After seeing the doctor, Shakir had recovered.  

Thousands of children in the camps suffer from respiratory problems as a result of the extreme cold and the use of plastic and harmful materials to provide a source of heat. 

* Patient name and some details may have been changed to protect privacy​

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