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UN sent first radiotherapy to north-west Syria with support of Turkiye

October 3, 2023 at 9:01 pm

A general view of Cobanbey Hospital, which is established on an area of 20 thousand square meters and provides health services to thousands of people in the region in Al-Rai (Cobanbey), Syria on 11 October 2022 [Serhat Çağdaş – Anadolu Agency]

The UN announced, Tuesday, it sent the first radiotherapy machine to treat cancer to north-west Syria during the weekend, Anadolu Agency reports.

“This comes on the heels of advocacy efforts led by the UN and our health partners, with support from the Government of Turkiye,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.

This is a monumental step for cancer treatment in north-west Syria. Radiotherapy sessions are not available in local health facilities

it said. “Syrian cancer patients have been dependent on cross-border referrals to Turkiye, and this system was temporarily disrupted earlier this year due to the earthquakes.”

The radiotherapy machine, which OCHA said can provide more than 40 sessions a day, is now in the largest hospital in Afrin.

“Turkish health authorities are also providing support for one year, with Turkish technicians and oncologists operating the machine on-site and also training Syrian health workers,” the statement said.

It noted that there has been an uptick in cancer cases since a major earthquake in February.

READ: Healthcare crisis in NW Syria caused by cuts to international aid, Amnesty International says