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Syria Coastal Area - Situation Overview: Health Sector Response (26 April 2022)

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General situation in the coastal area

More than 10 years in conflict continues to affect the Syrian population, leaving civilians suffer from extreme levels of food insecurity with limited access to health and social care, with the economy crash and closure of businesses due to COVID-19 outbreak; many people lost employment and income generation activities specially elders and those with disabilities. According to WFP, Food Security Assessment results (FSA) for 2020 covering the coastal area through maps and excel figures (52% of the population in Lattakia governorate are food insecure while it is 51% for Tartous governorate reaching totally over 1,100,000 food-insecure persons in the coastal area), the highest level since the beginning of the Syrian crisis.

The deteriorating socio-economic conditions further contribute to the growing psychosocial distress and mental problems, and this was noticed with the increasing levels of suicide cases and increasing levels of alcohol and drug abuse among the youth and increasing levels of crimes cases and domestic violence (according to internal security reports) usually children and women pay the highest price.

In October 2020, Latakia governorate was heavily affected by large-scale wildfires, UN OHCHA reported three fatalities and estimated about 140,000 people were being affected by the wildfires with up to 25,000 people displaced. More than 9,000 hectares of agricultural and forested lands were reportedly destroyed. The ICRC and SARC estimated 200,000 people had been affected by the wildfires in Latakia with 12,500 people needing direct assistance as a result.

Health care in the coastal area is mainly provided through public hospitals and public health centers. Private hospitals also provide healthcare services but due to the increasing medical prices, fewer people are dependent on the private clinics. Nevertheless, and due to limited resources at the public sector, people still need to pay for certain services including medicines, medical supplies for certain surgeries and dialysis sessions. Among the services provided by the public sector are emergency, surgery, lab and imaging services, inpatient/patient services, management of NCDs, IMCI, family planning and RH services among others. Another obstacle for people to receive health services is accessibility, due to high cost of transportation, severe shortage of fuel, decrease number of public transportation services and closure of some of the rented PHCs centers in rural Latakia due to limited human, medical and financial resources at DOH. There are 38 health staff per 10,000 at hospital level, and 8 health staff per 10,000 at PHC level, while certain specialties are non-existing, such as some specialized surgeries, organ transplants, plasmapheresis, neurosurgery and advanced neonatology and limited specialized MH services. Also, centralization of procurement of medicines and health supplies in MOH has widely affected the provision of certain health services at governorate level, a problem seen in most of the Syrian governorates and can be easily noticed in Latakia governorate as more than 85% of the population are dependent on the public sector for health services, and most of the PHCs and public hospitals are nearly out of medicines.