The latest doctor-to-doctor dialogue took place on August 24th, examining the situation in Syria.
Officially, Syria only has 2,217 cases and a little over 80 deaths from the virus. The attached map shows areas of Syria where cases of Covid-19 have been reported.
However, these official statistics are widely believed to underestimate the true scale of the virus. Doctors in the country report that both public and private hospitals are struggling to manage with the influx of patients, although the situation is hoped to be stabilising after a difficult summer.
After almost a decade of conflict, Syria’s health infrastructure has been badly damaged and there are difficulties in getting adequate supplies of PPE, oxygen, ventilators, and drugs into the country. Public awareness of the dangers posed by the virus are also believed to be low. Given this context, there is an urgent need for Syria to receive additional humanitarian support. However, there are worries that donor fatigue with Syria may delay the response that is required. This is especially worrying, given the urgency of acting before the beginning of influenza season which will likely exacerbate the situation.
The meeting provided an opportunity for Syrian health experts to discuss these issues with their peers in the medical community and begin thinking through possible solutions suitable for the Syrian context. Considering the scale of the challenges, we will seek to organise further meetings on Syria and Covid-19 soon.