"Syrians are in urgent need of life-saving medicines following an escalation in fighting, which also threatens further food shortages, U.N. agencies warned on Tuesday," Agence France-Presse reports (8/7). "Drugs for tuberculosis, hepatitis, hypertension, diabetes and cancer are urgently needed, as well as hemodialysis for kidney diseases, according to the WHO," Reuters notes (8/7). "'The recent escalation of clashes had resulted in substantial damages to the pharmaceutical plants located in rural Aleppo, Homs and Rural Damascus, where 90 percent of the country's plants were located,' a WHO spokesperson, Tarik Jasarevic, told reporters in Geneva today," the U.N. News Centre writes. "Prior to the violence which has wracked the Middle Eastern country, Syria produced 90 percent of its medicines and drugs locally," the news service notes (8/7).
"In addition to the lack of medicines, many hospitals and health centers are also closed as a result of the fighting, while rising fuel costs are preventing travel by health workers, [Jasarevic] said," AFP writes (8/7). "He says the Syrian Ministry of Health reports it has lost 200 ambulances over the last few weeks as the vehicles were either stolen or destroyed in fighting," VOA News notes (Schlein, 8/7). "Some 1.5 million people in rural areas also need food assistance in the next three to six months, 'especially in the areas that have seen the greatest conflict and displacement,' said the World Food Programme," according to AFP (8/7).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.