23 Jul 13 28 Nov 16

Syria: Diabetes, shrapnel wounds and newborn twins

Aside from those injured by the war there are countless numbers of people affected by common health problems, health problems that are entirely manageable in a normal setting. 

But in Syria these health problems quickly become deadly. Issues like diabetes, hypertension and maternal health are all taking their toll. MSF's clinics and hospitals inside the war-torn country, like this one, are saving Syrian people's lives every day.

"The full gamut...from birth to death"


Steve Rubin, an experienced surgeon, describes the medical needs he and his team are seeing in one of the six makeshift hospitals that Médecins Sans Frontières is running in northern Syria

“Before the war, people in Syria had good quality care. Some of the people really want that care again. So they come in here because they don’t have any other options to go to anymore. 

Other than us, everybody else is doing war trauma, so the other hospitals can’t help them for most pathologies. That’s why we’re here... we’re trying to fill a gap for them.

Essentially the Emergency Room deals with diabetics, hypertensives, people with heart disease… On top of that we deal with casualties that are coming in, shrapnel wounds, and then we’re always prepared for the mass casualties.

But we’re also bringing new life into the world on a daily basis. Nobody else in the area is running a hospital that’s doing maternity. There are midwives in the communities, but there’s no hospital doing it any more.

We do the full gamut, from birth to death.

The operating theatre is an inflated tent, but it works… Essentially we have equipment – not everything that we need – but it’s good enough.

It’s not the usual surgical environment. It’s an MSF environment, and you walk in and say… I’m going to do the best I can do with what I have, and save as many lives as I can.”

How you can support the work of Médecins Sans Frontières in Syria:

  • €30 will provide meningitis vaccines for 100 children
  • €65 will send a surgeon to the field for one day to perform life-saving operations
  • €150 will provide a portable dressing kit to treat up to 100 war-wounded patients