Syrian Interim Government Minister for Health, Dr. Mohammad Wajih Juma, revealed that the government has founded an operation room for the “Winter Crisis", consisting of emergency teams to combat the disaster.
Dr. Juma told All4Syria that "displacement itself is a crisis, and the winter crisis has increased the suffering and pain of our people. All the efforts of the government will not relieve the magnitude of the tragedy. Efforts must include everyone, and the focus should be on our people living in camps and besieged areas".
“The Ministry for Health is working without resources of its own, and within these circumstances, we seek to provide whatever we can to citizens. The ministry is working to provide medical services to Syrians, wherever they are, and draws health policies that are consistent with the interim government's objectives at this stage, which focuses on supporting the steadfastness of our people through the provision of medical services,” Juma added.
Juma explained the priorities of the Ministry for Health vary depending on the situation on the ground. There are areas to be provided with life-saving medical services, like field hospitals. The ministry provides these services through the Department of Health, which has an administrative structure that enjoy flexibility to deal with such events – these departments are working in the liberated areas.
Juma revealed that the ministry aims to found medical centers through which it can provide vaccine programs and fight against tuberculosis and leishmaniasis. The ministry now treats 2,000 tuberculosis patients inside Syria for free through the Syrian Vaccine Group – consisting of the Ministry for Health, the health directorates, Coordinative Assistance Unit and a number of other medical organizations.
“The biggest threat to the situation of health in Syria is the shortage of medical staff – doctors, nurses and technicians – so the ministry put a plan for the rehabilitation and production of medical staff", Juma said.
With regard to the recent publicity surrounding the firing of contractors working inside the ministry as translators, Juma replied that “Turkey provides all medical services for Syrian patients, but language and communication problems hinder most of the medical services provided, so the ministry assigns translators to serve Syrians.
“The contracts with those translators ended in 2014, and in 2015, the number of employees in translation will rise from 65 to 96," Juma claimed.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer