Rebuilding Syria’s Healthcare System: Our Educational Efforts and Highlights

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Over the past decade, the conflict in Syria has left millions without access to healthcare and stripped students of the opportunity to continue their education. One of SAMS’ core missions is to help rebuild Syria’s healthcare system that has been decimated by years of systematic targeting. In order to do so, SAMS has taken numerous steps to support medical education over the past decade, giving medical students the opportunity to continue their education and use the skills they’ve learned to give back, not just within their own communities but to others as well.

In light of these efforts, we would like to share some highlights and showcase the long-lasting impact and stories from some of our students, and emphasize the importance of providing students with access to education.

Ola was one of the first students to receive a scholarship through SAMS’ Scholarship Program, which was launched in 2006. Ola began her studies before the conflict broke out in 2011. Like many students, Ola had stability, access to education, and was pursuing her dream of getting accepted to the Aleppo School of Medicine. All of that came crashing down when the conflict erupted, as schools were often and deliberately targeted. Ola was forced to continue her education at home and had to read using only candlelight due to the deteriorating situation.

“When I needed it most, God sent them (SAMS) to me. Their support and belief in me reinvigorated my confidence and inner strength, clearing the path for me to focus on my studies.”

Seeking safety elsewhere, her family relocated to Turkey, where she came across our scholarship program to assist students whose studies were interrupted by the conflict. Since her acceptance into the program 5 years ago, Ola has been studying hard and is currently wrapping up her fifth year at university. She is looking forward to utilizing what she’s learned to give back to her community.

“It took a while to get used to the immense responsibility of caring for a mother and child; however, I now have the self-confidence to continue saving the lives of many more mothers and their newborns.”

There are countless other students whose studies were interrupted, like Ola, and SAMS continues to be at the forefront of supporting medical education for students in Syria and abroad. In Syria, SAMS has established both midwifery and nursing schools that have allowed students, like Amani Jaklan and Maryam Al-Nassan, to continue their studies and fulfill their respective goals of learning more about medicine and giving back to their communities. To achieve this, they both decided to become midwives and enrolled at SAMS Midwifery Institute where they worked tirelessly to graduate. Both are now giving back to their communities through working at local hospitals as midwives.

“It took a while to get used to the immense responsibility of caring for a mother and child; however, I now have the self-confidence to continue saving the lives of many more mothers and their newborns.”

Other initiatives like our “Peer to Peer Training” program in Jordan helps teens regain control of their mental health and then teach others how to do the same, providing them with a way to both add to their skills and support themselves while also giving them the opportunity to help others in their own communities do the same.

“These educational opportunities allowed us to hone our skills and give back, helping to protect the health of mothers and newborns across multiple communities.”

As a result of the attrition of skilled healthcare providers due to the decade-long conflict, SAMS is committed now more than ever to supporting medical students and professionals inside Syria and elsewhere, establishing medical institutions, providing scholarships, and organizing ongoing training opportunities for medical staff in the region.