Syria's Barbaric Health Conditions Killing Kids by 'Thousands'

Report lays bare horrific impact of system's collapse
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2014 3:35 AM CDT
Syrian Children Dying Amid 'Barbaric' Health Conditions
Aleppo's Dar Al-Shifa hospital lies in ruins after a government air strike.   (AP Photo/Narciso Contreras, File)

As the Syrian civil war enters its fourth year, millions of children are at risk amid harrowing conditions caused by the collapse of the country's health care system, a report from the Save the Children charity warns.

  • More than 10,000 children have died in the violence, but "it is not just the bullets and the shells that are killing and maiming children," the report warns. Save the Children's research revealed almost medieval health conditions in cities such as Aleppo, where there were 2,500 doctors before the war but fewer than 40 now, reports the New York Times. The group found that thousands of children are dying from diseases that could either have been treated or easily prevented under normal conditions.

  • Some 200,000 Syrians are believed to have died from chronic illnesses since the start of the conflict because of a lack of treatment, compared to an estimated 140,000 killed by violence, Reuters finds. Vaccination coverage has fallen sharply and diseases such as measles and meningitis are spreading along with polio, which has now infected an estimated 80,000 Syrian children.
  • The nightmarish consequences of the health system's collapse include newborns dying in incubators amid power cuts, children having limbs amputated due to a lack of equipment for proper treatment, and patients being knocked out with metal bars because of a shortage of anesthetic, the report found.
  • Amnesty International, meanwhile, accuses the Syrian regime of using "starvation of civilians as a weapon of war," the BBC reports. Around 20,000 refugees are trapped in a besieged camp in Damascus and at least 60% are suffering from malnutrition, the group warns.
  • In some rare good news to emerge from Syria, a group of Greek Orthodox nuns kidnapped by rebels in December have been released, according to another BBC report. The 13 nuns, who worked in a convent orphanage, say they were mostly well treated by their captors.
(More Syria stories.)

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