After nearly four years of war having gutted the country's healthcare system, Syria is facing a 'medical and humanitarian disaster' leading to a return of eradicated diseases like polio, tuberculosis, typhoid and scabies, a group of Syrian doctors said in Paris. Lack of doctors, supplies and drugs have plunged the country back into the medical dark ages, as many children are no longer vaccinated and majority of childbirths take place at home.
Oubaida Al Moufti, a French-Syrian doctor and member of the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations (UOSSM) said, "The situation is unbearable, catastrophic and many in Syria no longer have access to medical care." He said that 80 percent of births in Syria were taking place at home. The IS stronghold Raqqa, home to 1.6 million people, reportedly has no obstetrics, gynecological or pediatric services.
Abdelaziz, a doctor from Aleppo said, "The city has only five hospitals, three only partially functioning, in the eastern rebel-controlled section where 360,000 people live surrounded by government forces. There are no more than 30 doctors, from a variety of specialities."
Tawfik Chamaa, a UOSSM representative in Switzerland, said, "All the media talks about now is extremism and Daesh (an alternative name for IS). But not the women and children who are killed, the bodies torn to shreds, open stomachs, that which we deal with daily as doctors."
Despite the UOSSM having a list of 250 doctors killed in Syria during the war, the doctors try to work in all zones, whether held by government forces, rebels or IS jihadists. The association said, "We are neutral, but we experience violence from all sides, and no one has any guarantees from anyone." More than 200,000 people have been killed since the war began in March 2011.