Empowering Our Communities Under Crisis

Over the past few decades, [the] Syrian health care system was improving substantially, from the increasing life expectancy rate to dropping infant mortality rate, and even the epidemiologic transition from communicable to non-communicable disease.

Syria was also known for its proficient medical staff including men and women, which made our country a center of attraction for patients from different countries in order to seek high-quality medical care and assistance.

Unfortunately, as a consequence of this open-ended conflict, many things have changed; we have become a country that passes pain and suffering instead of healing and relief.

We have lost many medical corporations, hospitals with high-quality service, equipment, and many remarkable doctors who lost their lives while saving others. This has caused the remainder of medical workers to face the toughest challenge of their lives, not only due to working under lack of safety and the threat of death, but also to deal with the new outcomes of the conflict.

What we have experienced during these five years of political and socioeconomic conflict is far worse than our expectations. More than 50% of the population are now below the poverty line. This has prevented many people from getting their regular health assessment and forced many patients with chronic illnesses to interrupt their treatment, due to the high-cost medications.

Indeed we have to mention the role of economic sanctions which includes medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies. This has resulted in a severe lack of hospitals functioning such as infant incubators, CT scans, emergency care, etc.

We as medical students and doctors, face restricted access to conflict areas during the process of dissemination of health program for maternal and child care, which raised our concerns for potential risks for women who went into labor as well as infants who were born during the lack of appropriate care needed and interrupted vaccination programs.

As a young woman doctor, I think women working in the medical field in Syria are playing a more challenging role since our responsibilities go beyond practicing medicine. We also have to deal with the social and culture aspects of the lives of our patients. Which include providing maternal and child rehabilitation of those who were victims of the conflict. We help them to recover from what they have been through and encouraging them to develop new skills as a way of adjusting to the current circumstances

Finally, we have to keep in mind that despite all these challenges, life will continue and we still have millions of people living in Syria. It is our role as doctors to do our best to help and empower our communities by both using our current skills and by developing new ones.

Source: image taken from lobelog.com

About the author:
Lilav Hussein, is a 6th-year medical student at Damascus University. Lilav is from kamishli, Syria. “From a young age, I have always been enthralled by the human body. It was the direct result of my passion for research which I consider a great tool to provide the understanding of various issues. My goal as a future doctor is to employ such new techniques that aspire to enhance the health of people and the importance of mind-body connection.”

Lilav may be reached at lilav.hessen@gmail.com

Guest Authors Initiative:
The IIT Syrian student blog welcomes guest contributions from university students from Syria and around the globe. To learn more about the Guest Authors Initiative, please contact Suhaib at suhayb4@gmail.com.

Suhaib was born in Kamishli, Syria, and earned his bachelor’s degree in December 2014 from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Armour College of Engineering, with earlier studies at Aleppo University and Damascus University. Suhaib majored in Civil Engineering with a concentration in structural engineering. Upon graduation, he accepted a position as a project engineer working on projects throughout the state of Illinois; he lives in Springfield, Illinois. Suhaib previously worked with Jasmine Baladi Studio, an NGO that works to support

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