WHO calls for Syria’s health funding gap to be closed

4 Mar 16

The international community must provide the promised funding needed to fill the almost half a billion dollar gap in Syria’s health sector, the World Health Organisation's regional director has said.


Dr Ala Alwan, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean

Dr Ala Alwan, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean


WHO said that a $437.21m funding gap persists in meeting the country’s growing health needs despite the record amount in pledges made by donors at a high-level conference in London last month.

The five-year long conflict has seen more than half of all healthcare facilities close fully or partially, forced half of all health professionals to flee, and resulted in critical shortages of life-saving medicines.

“The health situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, not just day by day, but hour by hour,” Ala Alwan, WHO director of the Eastern Mediterraneon region, said. “As always in conflict, it is innocent civilians that pay the highest price.

“As the conflict continues, more lives are lost every day, not just due to the violence, but as people become victims of a failing healthcare system that can no longer provide them with the health services they need to stay alive.”

He said millions of lives are at risk. Almost two-thirds of all Syrians have no access to safe water and are at risk of diseases like typhoid and cholera, and every month more than 30,000 people need treatment for injuries. Many with chronic diseases die from complications that would normally be easily controlled.

Almost 300,000 pregnant women are not getting the care they need, half of all children are missing out on life-saving vaccinations, and one in four is at risk of developing a mental health disorder with a long-term impact.

Alwan said one month after the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference at the beginning of February, WHO and its health partners are still waiting for the funding they urgently require.

“Lack of funding will only lead to increasing numbers of preventable deaths: for every one million dollars the health sector does not receive, more than 230,000 people are left without access to healthcare,” he highlighted.

“This unnecessary morbidity and loss of lives should not be allowed to continue. I urge the international donor community to fulfil their commitment and fill critical funding gaps faced by the health sector.”

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