Syria’s Medical Sector Facing Mass Exodus of Young Professionals

Data on Syria’s migration crisis estimates that around 17,000 doctors have left the country since the beginning of the crisis in 2011

New data on Syria’s migration crisis estimates that around 17,000 doctors have left Syria since 2011, painting a tragic picture of the Syria’s future and the economic and social burden of dwindling human resources on the country's medical industry.

Statistics from the Syrian Dentists Union revealed that the number of practitioners who have left Syria over the past four years amounted to 6,000 doctors out of around 20,000.

Union vice-president Safwan al-Qirbi said the figure amounts to about 30 percent of the total number of dentists.

Qirbi explained that while women often receive travel permissions, "most male doctors emigrate illegally," adding that, "quite a lot of doctors have emigrated because of the threats they have received from the armed gangs."

The president of the Doctors Union, Abdul Qader Hassan, announced that the number of doctors who left the country "during the crisis" reached 11,000 out of 40,000 practitioners. Hassan pointed out that the number of doctors who have emigrated since the beginning of 2015 until the end of September alone amounted to 900 doctors, adding that most "are from the younger age groups, while most of the older doctors preferred to stay in Syria."

The Union of Pharmacists registered the lowest number of professional migrants at about 372 pharmacists. Many believe that pharmacists remain in Syria because they have no job opportunities abroad, in addition to the attractive profits they can earn because of the frequent rises in the prices of medicine.

Syrian expatriate Jamal Qaresly, a former member of the German Parliament, believes that the economic impact of the migration of professional and scientific competencies will reflect negatively on the performance of the local economy, adding that "Syria will feel its loss when the reconstruction phase begins."

Researcher Mahmoud Hamam believes that the migration of competencies will cause losses in the state treasury, “as the state loses tens of billions of dollars with each new wave of migration".

The General Directorate of Immigration and Passports estimated that one million passport applications were submitted during 2015, at a rate of 5,000 applications per day. Damascus and its countryside placed first with 360,000 applications.

The Directorate estimated the number of minor children whose guardians have applied to obtain a passport for them reached about 40,000.

European agency Frontex, which controls the borders around EU states, announced that 160,000 Syrian refugees have migrated to Europe since the beginning of 2015 until August, while according to the UNHCR figures, the number of Syrians who arrived in Europe since 2011 to August 2015 reached 348,000 refugees.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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