Cuts in international aid to north-west Syria from the UK and other western nations are causing a healthcare crisis and leading to millions in the region being impacted by shortages in medical materials, Amnesty International has warned.
According to the human rights organisation, doctors and healthcare professionals in north-western Syria informed it of their increasing struggle to properly operate with low resources and inadequate amounts of funding, forcing them to turn away residents in urgent need of care.
The cuts in services and the medical shortages, the group reported today, are primarily due to the decisions made last year by major donors such as the UK and US to cut aid to the area and its healthcare facilities. The maintenance of the services, facilities and medication, which are all free, rely entirely on international aid and funding.
Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Lynn Maalouf, stated, “This past year’s massive funding drop has immediately translated into the closure of hospitals and vital services, and has left millions of Syrians – who have already suffered conflict and violence – struggling to access medication and other essential health care.”
Maalouf stressed that “Donors have the power to rectify this devastating situation. Their decisions have a direct impact on people’s access to healthcare at a time when they are suffering more than ever.” She added that “What is happening in north-west Syria right now is a terrible humanitarian crisis”.
The human rights group’s announcement and warning comes days before an international aid conference is set to take place in the Belgian capital, Brussels, which aims to raise and secure funding for Syrians displaced in their country and the region, as well as communities hosting them as refugees.