Syrian Arab Republic

WHO concerned about suspected chemical attacks in Syria

11 April 2018 – WHO is deeply alarmed by reports of the suspected use of toxic chemicals in Douma city, East Ghouta. According to reports from Health Cluster partners, during the shelling of Douma on Saturday, an estimated 500 patients presented to health facilities exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals. In particular, there were signs of severe irritation of mucous membranes, respiratory failure and disruption to central nervous systems of those exposed.

More than 70 people sheltering in basements have reportedly died, with 43 of those deaths related to symptoms consistent with exposure to highly toxic chemicals. Two health facilities were also reportedly affected by these attacks.

WHO reminds parties to the conflict of their obligation to refrain from attacking medical facilities and personnel as per Security Council Resolution 2286 (2016). Any use of chemical weapons to cause harm is illegal under international law. Global norms against chemical weapons reflect a particular abhorrence to their disproportionate harm to the eldest, the most infirm, and the youngest among us.

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Japan boosts assistance for vital health care in Syria

Children at Damascus hospitalChildren from East Ghouta at Damascus Paediatric Hospital in March 2018. With support from Japan, the Emergency Department will soon be fully repaired and equipped. © WHO SyriaDamascus, 5 April 2018 – The Government of Japan has committed a total of US$ 5 million in new assistance to the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen primary health care for vulnerable populations in northern Syria, and to improve secondary and tertiary care for children from across the country, including those who come from East Ghouta.

US$ 3.5 million of this package will be used to equip and rehabilitate the Emergency Department of the Damascus Paediatric Hospital, a key health institution providing vital support to critically ill children. Essential medical equipment will also be provided to the Aleppo Paediatric Hospital and the Paediatric and Obstetrics Hospital in Latakia.

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  • WHO concerned about suspected chemical attacks in Syria
  • Japan boosts assistance for vital health care in Syria
    Japan boosts assistance for vital health care in Syria



Health sector 4Ws snapshots The health sector 4Ws snapshots indicates which partners are doing what, where and at which time. Health sector 4Ws snapshots Summary of key indicators WHO’s key indicators reports illustrate the...

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In focus

Situation reports on the polio outbreak in Syria

Situation update 31 May 2018 No new cases of cVDPV2 have been reported in 2018. The most recent case (by date of onset of paralysis) is 21 September 2017 from Boukamal...

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Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s)

22 712

Total health expenditure (% of general government expenditure)


Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births)


Primary health care centres and units (per 10 000 population)


Total life expectancy at birth (years)


Source: Country statistical profiles 2017

See Syrian Arab Republic country profile

Regional Health Observatory