According to the Health Sector severity scale, just over 12 million people were in need of health assistance in 2020 of which 11.4 million were in acute need while residing in areas with a severity score of 3 or higher due to challenges such as accessibility and availability of services, displacement, and the impact of conflict.
Based on Syria 2021 HNO, around 1.9 million IDPS were reported in Syria in 2020 and early 2021 due to the observed hostilities particularly in Northwest Syria (Aleppo and Idleb). Similarly, 28 attacks on health care were reported in 2020 as compared to 85 in 2019. Despite a reduction in conflict, Syria and its disrupted health system faced the dual threats of a deteriorating socio-economic situation and the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the WHO Whole of Syria consolidated HeRAMS for Q4 2020, just 59 per cent of hospitals and 54 per cent of primary healthcare centers (PHCs) are estimated to be fully functional across Syria. By mid-2020, more than 7.78 million people in 100 subdistricts were living below three critical emergency health standards including number of functional health facilities and health staff per population. At the same time, just 32% of the 443.3 million USD health sector requirements for 2020 was reportedly received.
Despite these challenges, the WoS Health Sector partners have achieved remarkable results in 2020:
23.3M outpatient consultations were provided, of which 43% of patients were male and 57% were female, while 46% were children under the age of 18.
Overall, health actors delivered 25.26M medical procedures, representing 110% of the health sector annual target and amounting to 2.1 procedures per person in need per year.
14.95M treatment courses were delivered – 111% of the annual target.
Notably, 51% of medical procedures and 47% of treatment courses were delivered in areas of critical need, ranking 4 or higher on the health sector severity scale.
8 fully functioning health facilities offering emergency obstetric and newborn care (6 basic and 2 comprehensive) were added to the overall health system capacity during the year.
Health actors provided 969,965 antenatal care visits during the year, an average of 2 visits per pregnant woman despite tremendous access challenges and severe health care worker shortages in 7 of 14 governorates.
As mentioned above, COVID-19 exacerbated weaknesses in the health system. Almost 40,000 cases and over 1300 deaths were reported across Syria in 2020, including more than 2,700 cases and 32 deaths among health care workers. With the generous support of donors who mobilized more than 69M USD for health sector pandemic response, health actors delivered a multi-pillar response across all response hubs. Notably:
5,708 responders were trained on infection prevention and control (91% of target) while 3,853 health care workers were trained on clinical case management of COVID-19 (110% of target).
By the end of 2020, 10 laboratories in 7 governorates throughout Syria were collectively capable of performing 2770 COVID-19 PCR tests per day.
At the start of 2021, a total of 4,008 dedicated hospital beds for COVID-19 cases were operational: 2,756 for moderate cases (86% of target) and 1,252 beds for critical cases (77% of target) – an increase of 92% and 313% respectively over the final 5 months of 2020.