Syrian Arab Republic | News | In focus | WHO reaches more people in need across Syria, thanks to the unwavering support of the European Commission

WHO reaches more people in need across Syria, thanks to the unwavering support of the European Commission

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Aicha_and_her_5_children29 November 2016 – Aicha and her 5 children live in Jaramana, a small town on the outskirts of Damascus. Aicha fled the city of Deir-ez-Zor more than 2 years ago after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant took over parts of the governorate. “I work in a small factory, making clothes for brides”, said Aicha, pointing to a picture of herself and her eldest daughter, 12-year-old Nariman. “However, I can barely make ends meet.” 

Aicha’s situation dramatically worsened when Nariman was injured by a mortar that fell near her school. She was taken to a private hospital, but her mother could not afford to pay the bill. “I felt so powerless”, recalled Aicha. A nurse approached the despairing mother and explained that Al-Ihsan Charity would cover the cost of Nariman’s treatment. “I burst into tears, and told the nurse she was a gift from God”, said Aicha. 

Al-Ihsan Charity is one of 68 local nongovernmental organizations in Syria supported by WHO. Thus far in 2016, WHO’s NGO partners have delivered over 1.2 million medical treatments, conducted more than 93 600 outpatient consultations, and performed over 64 597 surgical interventions.

WHO is providing medicines, medical supplies and equipment to NGOs across Syria, including in hard-to-reach areas. With funds from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), WHO is helping these NGOs expand their operations and reach more people with medical care, including over 6 million who are displaced inside the country. “The solid support and commitment of the European Commission has enabled WHO to expand its partnership with local NGOs and reach more Syrians in need,” said Elizabeth Hoff, WHO’s Representative in Syria. “Our partnership with the European Commission is making a difference on the ground, helping the most vulnerable in this prolonged conflict”. 

Since the onset of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the European Commission has donated more than US$ 36 million to WHO to support Syrians in need.

Thus far in 2016, WHO has provided over 9 million medical treatments throughout Syria, through both cross-line and cross-border deliveries. Over one third of these supplies were delivered to hard-to-reach and besieged areas. The Organization, along with United Nations partners and the Syria Arab Red Crescent (SARC), was able to reach all 18 besieged areas across Syria.

Related link

European Commission’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations 

Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s)

24 422

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: Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

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Regional Health Observatory