The new dispensary
A new medical dispensary has been opened in Safita, a town with a population of about 6.000 people in the governorate of Tartous, in the northeast part of Syria. Five voluntary doctors, two secretaries, one pharmacist, one cleaning lady, and one administrator will operate inside the new structure to offer primary healthcare services to needy patients.
Before the launch of this dispensary, in Safita there was only one public clinic that did not distribute medicines. The contribution of AVAID donors has made possible the opening of this new dispensary, with an ultrasound machine for gynecological applications, a digital portable electrocardiograph, and a diagnostic audiometer device. The achievement of Safita medical facility is part of the AVSI initiative “Open Hospitals”, an ongoing program launched in 2017, promoted by the Apostolic Nunciature in Damascus, and sponsored by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development established by Pope Francis in 2016.
The Syrian health crisis
Before the war, Syria was renowned for its healthcare system in the Middle East, and public health assistance was mainly free, but the current situation is critical, with more than 90% of Syrian population living below the poverty line. More than 40% of health facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and dispensaries, have been destroyed by the war, and over 40% of the health personnel fled abroad. People who cannot pay for medical treatment can die of curable illnesses such as pneumonia, appendicitis, or inguinal hernia. Moreover, 25% of the Syrian population has some form of disability, while the global average is 15% (HNO 2023). However, due to the severe crisis and inflation, medicines are expensive and often unaffordable for most people.
Open Hospitals campaign
The Open Hospitals campaign aims to guarantee free treatment to vulnerable patients in Syrian non-profit hospitals and clinical dispensaries. From its start, 128,966 (November 26, 2023) free treatments have been provided through the program, offering a variety of treatments free of charge. The opening of the new medical dispensary shows the intention of AVSI to continue its response to the emergency in Syria.