Syria + 5 more

Fadéla Chaib’s notes as delivered at the UN press briefing on the health situation in Syria and Yemen


The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, particularly in Aleppo, Azaz and northern rural Homs. As of yesterday, four health facilities were damaged during airstrikes.

The repeated attacks on health care workers and health care facilities have severe immediate and long-term consequences. Such attacks deprive Syria’s most vulnerable populations – especially children - of basic life-saving health care.

Attacks against health care are flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, and contravene the right to health that is enshrined in the WHO Constitution.

WHO is working with partners to protect patients, health workers, health infrastructures and supplies so that people living in countries in conflict can have reliable access to the health care they desperately need.

More than 640 health workers have been killed since the crisis began.

After almost five years of conflict, an estimated 58% of public hospitals and 49% of primary health centres are either only partially functional or have closed.

Much of the Syrian population, including many seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, are increasingly vulnerable to diseases.

In 2015, WHO dispatched medical aid for more than 17.2 million treatments to people across Syria. We do this through a network of NGO's

In 2016, WHO requires more than US$ 170 million for its operations to support Syria. Of this, US$ 155 million is for operations in Syria and US$ 14 million to support refugees' access to health services in Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.


Following months of blocked access to the Yemeni city of Taiz, WHO successfully delivered more than 20 tonnes of life-saving medicines and medical supplies to meet the most urgent needs of those with limited access to humanitarian aid in Al-Thawra, Al-Jumhoori, Al-Rawdha and Al-Ta'aon hospitals by 10 February.

The supplies include trauma kits, interagency emergency health kits, diarrhoeal disease kits and 170 oxygen cylinders, enough for about 35,000 beneficiaries. In addition, dialysis solutions were facilitated to Al-Thawra Hospital for 30,000 dialysis sessions for one year.

Many hospitals have been forced to close their intensive care units due to a lack of fuel, medicines and health staff, and patients with chronic medical issues such as diabetes, kidney disease and cancer are struggling to access essential medicines and dialysis centres.

Shortages in food have led to a significant increase in prices, with many people now unable to afford basic food items, resulting in increased risk of malnutrition, especially in children, The main wells providing safe drinking-water have shut down due to interruptions in power supplies and a lack of fuel for generators.

An additional 40 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies, will be distributed where they are most needed across the country in the coming weeks.

Since April 2015, ongoing violence and insecurity in Yemen continues to limit the delivery of aid to Taiz.

WHO and partners appeal for unrestricted humanitarian access to Taiz and all other besieged areas throughout the country where civilians have been deprived of the basic necessities of life.

The escalation of the conflict in Yemen has resulted in the damage and destruction of over 99 health facilities including 38 hospitals, 10 polyclinics and 27 ambulances among others. Nine health workers have also died and 17 injured as direct result of the conflict. In all the attacks, patients, including children, were severely injured.