Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/18/2013 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'Such attacks are an unconscionable betrayal of the principle of medical neutrality,' letter says

As a two-year-old civil war obliterates the nation of Syria's infrastructure, medical care is meager if not non-existent in many regions. Horror stories have emerged of injuries left untended, women giving birth with no medical care and patients battling cancer, diabetes and heart disease left with nowhere to turn.

Only 36 remain of the previous 5,000 physicians in the city of Aleppo. Syrians are providing the bulk of medical care, struggling in the face of massive need and dangerous conditions.

Only 36 remain of the previous 5,000 physicians in the city of Aleppo. Syrians are providing the bulk of medical care, struggling in the face of massive need and dangerous conditions.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/18/2013 (7 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Syria, health care, doctors, infrastructure, scarcity


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Syria's once sophisticated health system is "at breaking point." Parts of Syria are completely cut off from any kind of medical service due "deliberate and systematic attacks" on medical facilities and staff, senior doctors say.

Fifty-five medical professionals from across the world have made the situation clear in a joint letter in The Lancet medical journal. More than half of Syria's hospitals have been destroyed or badly damaged in attacks. Doctors run scarce as nearly 470 health professionals have been imprisoned. About 15,000 doctors have been forced to flee abroad.

"Such attacks are an unconscionable betrayal of the principle of medical neutrality," wrote the doctors. Among the group are Gro Harlem Brundtland, former director-general of the World Health Organization and Hany El Banna, founder of the Humanitarian Forum and Islamic Relief.

Only 36 remain of the previous 5,000 physicians in the city of Aleppo. Syrians are providing the bulk of medical care, struggling in the face of massive need and dangerous conditions.

"Over half a million people have been injured and Syrians are undergoing (caesarian) sections and amputations without anesthetic. It's hell on earth," El Banna said in a separate statement.

"I am very concerned by the deliberate and systematic attacks on medical facilities and personnel in Syria," Brundtland added in the statement.

Exacerbating the situation is that the government is refusing visas for aid personnel entering the country, and rebel groups are blocking medical supply convoys, Brundtland said. Coupled with the inflexibility and bureaucracy in the international aid system the situation is only growing worse.
 
"Syria is almost certainly the most dangerous place in the world to be a doctor," Fatima Hamroush, another signatory and former minister of health in the Libyan transitional government and consultant ophthalmologist, added in the statement.

"There is no acceptable reason why full unimpeded access for all doctors needed into Syria should not be granted immediately to prevent further medical catastrophe," she said.

"As doctors and health professionals we urgently demand that medical colleagues in Syria be allowed and supported to treat patients, save lives, and alleviate suffering without the fear of attacks or reprisals," the letter said.

"We call on the United Nations and international donors to increase support to Syrian medical networks, in both government and opposition areas, where, since the beginning of the conflict, health professionals have been risking their lives to provide essential services."


Click here to learn about our Saint Michael the Archangel conference this Nov 1-3!


---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Middle East

AL-QAEDA ALIVE: 'We must eliminate the cross ... The bearer of the cross is America!' Watch

Image of  In the video, the nefarious

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"This is quite an extraordinary video," terrorist experts Paul Cruickshank says. There's another word for it: absolutely horrifying. In the video, the nefarious "crown prince" of al-Qaeda, Nasir al-Wuhayshi is seen addressing a group of 100 like-minded ... continue reading


Suffering, dying in silence: Syrian Christians face arduous holy week Watch

Image of Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a seemingly endless Way of the Cross, with many suffering and dying in silence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The assassination of Dutch Jesuit Fr. Frans van der Lugt, shot to death by an unknown assailant at his base in Homs, Syria on April 7 has cast a pall for the faithful here. Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a ... continue reading


Asia Bibi remains in prison, reluctant officials hide behind bureaucracy Watch

Image of Asia Bibi remains in prison, judges unwilling to take up her case for fear of violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani woman facing death for blasphemy in Pakistan still sits in a women's prison her case held up by deliberate delays and a reluctance of judges and others to hear her case. Officials are afraid that they will become targets of Islamic ... continue reading


Dutch priest beaten, killed at his Syrian monastery Watch

Image of Father Frans van der Lugt was described as a man of great courage who

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dutch Jesuit priest, 75-year-old Frans van der Lugt was beaten and shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his monastery in Homs, Syria this week, the Vatican said. He had been living in Syria since the early Seventies. He's being described as man of great courage ... continue reading


Tunisian government strives to root out Islamist influence from Mosques Watch

Image of Tunisia's newly elected government, recognizing that one of the nation's chief sources of revenue is tourism, has wasted little time in quelling extremist factions there.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Tunisian authorities, along with the Islamist party Ennahda had clashed on several levels for any months. The conflict was felt on all strata of Tunisian society. Violence roiled in the streets, to the universities, in places of worship and private homes. ... continue reading


Syrian refugees in Lebanon passes one million mark Watch

Image of U.N. staff in Lebanon register 2,500 new Syrian refugees every day, the UNHCR said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Syria's devastating Civil War drags into its fourth year without an end in sight, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has officially passed the one million mark, the United Nations' refugee agency says. Syrian refugees now make up almost a quarter of ... continue reading


Meet Catholic Online's new Middle East correspondent Watch

Image of Kaci Racelma received his Bachelor of English literature in 1996. He has worked in the daily Algerian newspaper la Nouvelle République since 1998.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Journalist Kaci Racelma has joined the Catholic Online family as a much needed and vaunted Middle East correspondent to our international news desk. We welcome his wealth of experience in relaying breaking stories in this complex part of the world.  LOS ... continue reading


Authorities break up kiddie sex abuse ring, 17-year-old pimp and several men arrested Watch

Image of Several hundred women in Israel - many of them foreigners - are trafficked within the country annually for commercial sexual exploitation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tel Aviv Police have arrested seven men in connection with a child molestation ring. An undercover investigation began after one of the purported victims came forward and told them about a number of girls who had sex with a group of adults in exchange for ... continue reading


New Saudi Arabian law defines atheists as 'terrorists' Watch

Image of Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report from Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia has introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists. King Abdullah has issued Royal Decree 44, which criminalizes "participating in hostilities outside the kingdom" with prison ... continue reading


Executions on the rise: United States among top five countries Watch

Image of The report does note that only a small number of countries, about one in 10, carry out executions, and 140 countries are against the death penalty either in law or actions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Executions for criminals for a variety of crimes has risen across the world. While the majority of these executions take place in the Middle East, the United States is among the top five nations that has experienced an uptick in capital punishment. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 10:34, 37-43
34 Then Peter addressed them, 'I now really ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:1-9
1 It was very early on the first day of the week and ... Read More

Reading 2, Colossians 3:1-4
1 Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 20th, 2014 Image

St. Marian
April 20: When St. Mamertinus was Abbot of the monastery which St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter