The civil war that rages in Syria is a perfect example of the relationship between rampant disease and a sufficiently tolerable health system. Reports on Syria seem as if from another world but its a reality for the people who are struggling to survive in an already terrifying situation.
Apparently only 40% of Syria’s total hospitals remain intact with doctors fleeing the country left, right and centre. The chaos that is being described is absolutely shocking. A decline in essential medications, an outbreak of Leishmaniasis, H1N1 Swine Flu and even Polio which had been reported eradicated across Syria back in 1995.
With a war breaking down the health framework of a country, disease flourishes. People become vulnerable to preventable diseases and injuries without the basic boundaries set up for the health standard that we’ve come to expect today. Vaccines are not doled as they should and the remaining hospitals are overwhelmed with the additional patients wounded from fights. As a result, medical efficiency is in ruins.
I don’t see any way to be able to stop this build of epidemic rushes without the war over. With a war, there will be poor hygiene and overcrowding which gives opportunity for illness to spread. Especially with a civil war, it makes for an environment that lacks access to treatment and drugs. The biggest concern in Syria seems to be a lack of clean water meaning sanitation is impossible.
We can only attempt to predict outbreaks and act on preventing the worst case situation. Save the Children has proposed a freedom of access and aid to be allowed over conflict lines for humanitarian groups. Until a resolution rises, actions need to be made to stem the outbreak of infectious disease in Syria.
The National’s “Return of infectious diseases demonstrates Assad’s failure”
Health Medicine Network’s “Save the Children describes healthcare disaster in Syria”