Zubaida Shammout, president of the Association of Anesthesiologists and Pain Management at the Syrian Doctors’ Union, warned of the danger of continuing shortages of anesthetists. There are 500 doctors working in public and private hospitals, well short of the 1,500 doctors that are needed.
Shammout stressed that radical solutions must be found to improve the situation of anesthesiologists in Syria. He explained that one proposed solution is to increase salaries for anesthesiologists by 300 percent. The proposal is currently being studied by the Economic Committee. Another option involves separating anesthesia units from surgical units.
Shammout also stressed, in a statement to the local newspaper “Al-Watan”, that there is a need to improve the situation of anesthesiologists in private hospitals. “There are hospitals that squeeze every last drop out of anesthesiologists, who lives at the hospital’s mercy. For this reason, there are doctors leaving the country, which presents a great danger.”
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Shammout pointed out that most anesthesiologists are between the ages of 55 and 65 — i.e. approaching retirement age. There are only three doctors under 30 years of age. Shammout said that anyone who graduates now expects to leave the country, meaning that the ranks of qualified doctors will continue to dwindle.
Shammout noted the importance of anesthesia specialization and the need for it in all forms of surgery. He stressed that the percentage of errors made by anesthesiologists is “very low.” Indeed, Syrian doctors are sought after in many Arab and European countries, he said.
In early 2020, Fawaz Hilal, the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of the Association of Anesthetists and Pain Management, said that each anesthesiologist in Rural Damascus is paid 1,500 liras per operation; in Damascus, the wage varies from hospital to hospital. Overall, however, wages are “unfair.”
“Private hospital mafias plunder the anesthesiologist’s hard work. He receives only 2 percent of a surgeon’s wages, while the law stipulates that the rate should be 30 percent,” Hilal said at the time.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.