A two year Qatari program aims to provide sufficient health services to 4 million people in Idlib, Northern Syria.
The “Quest – Health 2020” Initiative is implementing a comprehensive program to enhance the capacity of health workers in Northern Syria and provide adequate medical services for four million people.
Funded by Qatar the Fund for Development (QFFD) and the Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS), the two-year program aims to support Syria’s health sector by addressing the shortage in medical professionals and improving the quality of healthcare. Quest-Health 2020 also aims to reduce mortality, morbidity, and disability rates in the war torn country.
To ensure the availability of skilled health workers for as many patients as possible, 125 students from the Academy of Health Sciences in Idlib will be receiving training in nursing, physiotherapy and emergency response. There are already 44 personnel from the Syrian Health Directorate currently attending intensive training courses in the field of epidemiology.
An additional program aims to upgrade and unify health data collection, analysis, and the management systems used by the Health Directorates and humanitarian organizations operating in Syria.
Six candidates will also receive Masters scholarships to join distance learning programs on public health, epidemiology, and health policy. The scholarships will be granted to proficient physicians, health care administrators and health policy specialists.
By the end of the program in May 2022, all students, physicians, and health decision-makers will graduate to begin serving the community and internally displaced people.
Syria’s northern governorates have been experiencing harsh living conditions for years, something that has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The health sector became subject to direct attacks by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad and his Russian allies, with hospitals being one of their main targets.
Idlib is now sheltering an additional 126,000 people who were displaced from other areas in northwestern Syria, with a total of at least 960,000 displaced since December, of which 60 percent are children. The dire condition in war torn Syria has forced millions into refugee camps, making them increasingly vulnerable to COVID-19 exposure.