On March 1, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus visited northwest Syria following the devastating earthquakes that hit northern Syria and southern Turkey on February 6, to evaluate the situation assessing area hospitals including UOSSM’s Aqrabat Hospital. In addition, the Director met with UOSSM’s Country Director, Dr. Daher Zedan, to better understand current medical needs in northwest Syria, and to coordinate a future response plan. The WHO team also met with the Idlib Health Directorate and representatives of other humanitarian organizations on the ground as they discussed the difficulties the health sector faced with the catastrophic earthquake, needs to support the medical sector, and planning a coordinated response in the near future.
Dr Tedros said at a media briefing following the visits,”WHO is playing our role in supporting the Syrian people, who have responded incredibly with the little that they have. WHO has been delivering essential medicines, supplies, and equipment for years, as well as on the day the earthquakes struck. And we will do more. But the people of northwest Syria need the assistance of the international community to recover and rebuild. Even before the earthquake, more than 90% of the Syrian people were living below the poverty line…I call on the international community – governments, philanthropies and individuals – to dig deep to lift up those who are enduring unimaginable loss, poverty and deprivation.”