Syria: Two months of surgical interventions

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been working on the ground in Syria for the past two months, trying to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by the conflict. With the help of a group of Syrian doctors, in six days a team was able to transform an empty house into an emergency hospital, where wounded people could be operated on and hospitalised.

As of mid-August, MSF has admitted more than 300 patients to this facility and carried out 150 surgeries. The injuries have been largely conflict-related and caused mostly by tank shelling and bombing. Many patients have suffered gunshot wounds. The majority of the patients have been men, but up to one-in-ten are women, and approximately one-in-five are under the age of 20. According to the medical team, two-thirds of the procedures carried out were emergency surgeries.

However, the future of the project is uncertain. In addition to the fact that MSF is working without authorisation from the Syrian authorities, our activities are under threat by the changing nature of the conflict, difficulties accessing supplies, and the challenges the injured face in reaching the hospital.

Considering the level of violence that is rife in Syria today, the MSF team, comprising national and international staff, is only able to provide a limited amount of medical support. This assistance is nonetheless essential for the survival of the people treated at the hospital.
For Anna NOWAK, Kelly DILWORTH and Brian MOLLER, who speak out about the situation, the patients and the kinds of wounds treated by our surgical team bear witness to the use of heavy artillery and the violence of a war that doesn’t spare civilians.
Aside from the surgical project, MSF is distributing drugs and other medical supplies in Syria. Despite the difficulties accessing the country, MSF remains ready to assist all victims of the conflict and we continue to expand our activities in Syria and neighbouring countries. At present, MSF is admitting about 50 injured Syrians a month to our reconstructive surgery project in Amman, Jordan. We are also offering psychological support and primary care to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. MSF’s 2012 budget for Syria-related activities is currently estimated at more than five million Euros.