Syria Humanitarian Fund: Providing life-saving surgeries to the most vulnerable

3 January, 2018
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Credit: OCHA/G.Saifo

Six years of conflict have severely disrupted the health system in Syria, leaving less than half of the country’s facilities in full service and resulting in thousands of avoidable deaths from injury or illness.

Challenging an already overstretched health infrastructure, displacement continues to drive health needs, particularly in northeast Syria where the influx of displaced persons has left over 484,000 people requiring urgent assistance. Humanitarian medical support in the region is needed more than ever before.

Lamset Shifa is one of the few non-governmental organizations providing free-of-charge life-saving surgeries to internally displaced people and host communities in need coming to Damascus from all governorates.

Aghead, 6, was operated on after bring struck by fragments from a nearby shelling, causing injury to his head, eye and legs. Credit: OCHA/Rania Aswad

‘Lamset Shifa’ translates as ‘healing touch’, and that’s exactly what the organization gave to Aghead R. - a six-year-old boy from Kafr Al-Hor village in Rural Damascus Governorate, who was recently struck by fragments from a nearby shelling, causing injury to his head, eye and legs. Aghead and his family were displaced and lost their home and belongings during the crisis. Lamset Shifa’s support was his only chance for recovery. Aghead was operated on and will soon return to his normal life and school.

Supported by the Syria Humanitarian Fund (SHF), Lamset Shifa is well known among the communities and has become the main destination for people in need of medical treatment that they cannot afford. The organization witnesses a continuous influx of applicants, estimated at 1,100 patients per month.

Lamset Shifa takes into consideration the patients’ health status but also relies on a registration system that exposes factors of vulnerability in order to give priority to those most vulnerable: households members who lost their breadwinner or lack any income source.

Between August 2017 and February 2018, the SHF-funded Health project implemented by Lamset Shifa aims to cover lifesaving surgeries for 1,344 people in need, with a total budget of $ 299,826.84. The project covers medical expenses for treatments in orthopedics, neurology, artificial limbs and incubators services. “SHF funds allow us to rapidly respond to critical life-saving needs in the most underserved and hard-to-reach areas,” an officer from Lamset Shifa said. “The proposed interventions impact the beneficiary’s life and [help] them to cope more positively with the crisis’ implications,” he added.

The organization’s current health project is their second SHF-funded project. The first project, with a $500,000 budget, was implemented from August 2016 to March 2017, reached 1,848 people.