Syrian Arab Republic | News | WHO renovates psychiatric facilities in Damascus and Aleppo, 28 December 2014

WHO renovates psychiatric facilities in Damascus and Aleppo, 28 December 2014

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28 December 2014 - Four psychiatric health facilities estimated to provide mental health services to more than 11 000 patients are being renovated by WHO. These are Ibn Roushed Psychiatric Hospital, psychiatric units at Al Mowassat and Al Afia fund hospital in Damascus and an outpatient centre at Ibn Khaldoun hospital, Aleppo. 

According to Dr Eyad Yanes, WHO Technical Officer for Mental Health, about 11 000 people suffering from mental illnesses will benefit from these services per year. He explained that the metal health facilities in Damascus are targeted at beneficiaries not only from Damascus and Rural Damascus, but patients from Qunaitra, Sweeda, Dara'a and other cities in Syria.

Based on World Mental Health Survey 2000, the percentage of mentally affected people during crises is estimated at about 3%-4%. This implies that approximately 600 000 persons of the Syrian population might be suffering from severe mental disorders; another 20% (i.e. approximately 4 million persons) are expected to be suffering from mild to moderate mental disorders, while 20%-40% would be experiencing mild psychological distress.

Ministry of Health data indicate that the number of persons seeking mental health services is increasing in Syria. Yet, only two public hospitals and one referral centre in Syria provide specialized mental health services. A limited number of primary health care centres provide basic mental health services. 

In response to this, WHO embarked on the rehabilitation of the mental health units in addition to capacity-building of the general physicians working in non-specialized health care settings. The capacity-building sessions focused on the management of five priority conditions: stress-related conditions, depression, psychosis, suicide and other unexplained medical complaints in order to overcome the shortage of mental health professionals at primary health care levels. 

Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s)

22 712

Total health expenditure (% of general government expenditure)

4.8

Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births)

68

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

0.9

Total life expectancy at birth (years)

64.5

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

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