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VOA News Reports On Syria's Health Crisis In Midst Of Civil War

“The United Nations estimates the civil war raging in Syria has left more than 2.5 million people in dire need of food, water, drugs and medical supplies,” VOA News reports. “After 18 months of fighting, thousands are dead and thousands more wounded,” and, “[i]f past wars are any indication, the health and well-being of Syrians will likely be affected long after the last guns are fired,” the news service writes. WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic “says many hospitals and health centers in [the capital] Homs have been badly damaged by shelling” and “[o]nly six of 12 public hospitals remain open, and eight out of 32 private hospitals are still in operation — at greatly reduced capacity,” VOA adds.

“Before the uprising started, Syria boasted nearly 500 hospitals and 70 licensed pharmaceutical manufacturers that supplied 90 percent of the nation’s drugs,” but “economic sanctions, violence, rising fuel costs and a shortage of raw materials have forced most of them to shut down,” the news service writes. “The disruption of Syria’s health care system means surgeries are being postponed and many patients with chronic health problems are not being treated,” VOA notes, adding, “Expectant mothers are not getting sufficient prenatal care, and children are often skipping life-saving vaccinations.” The news service goes on to discuss the death toll from fighting in the country as well as other “hidden wounds,” such as mental health issues, displacement, reproductive health complications, and post-conflict health challenges (Hilleary, 9/28).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.