Syrian healthcare 'at breaking point'- Global health experts warns

The high-profile group of medical professionals include several Nobel Peace Prize winners, as well as a former Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the 50 signatories hail from an array of countries including the UK, USA, Russia, India and Turkey.


In the open letter, published in The Lancet prior to this month's United Nations General Assembly, the experts write that they are 'horrified' by the scale of the emergency in Syria, describing it as "arguably one of the world's worst humanitarian crises since the end of the cold war".

The letter highlights the needs of the people of Syria, including the acute shortages of medical personnel, supplies, and facilities after more than two years of conflict. Half of Syria's hospitals are damaged or even destroyed, with thousands of health workers imprisoned or fleeing abroad.

"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", say the authors.

"Governments that support parties to this civil war should demand that all armed actors immediately halt attacks on medical personnel, facilities, patients and medical supplies, and allow medical supplies and care to reach Syrians, whether crossing front lines or across Syria's borders.

"We call on the UN 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 in an extremely hostile environment".

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