Syria: effects of conflict and sanctions on public health

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The past 18 months have witnessed considerable turmoil in countries of the MENA region. The Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) is one such country, currently in the midst of a civil war. This report draws attention to some of the recent achievements of its health services, where, despite a dearth of published materials, the country achieved remarkable declines in maternal mortality and infant mortality rates. Its health sector now faces destruction from on-going violence compounded by economic sanctions that has affected access to health care, to medicines and to basic essentials as well as the destruction of infrastructure. This paper draws attention to the achievements of the country's health services and explores some of the consequences of conflict and of sanctions on population health. Readers need to be mindful that the situation on the ground in a civil war can alter on a daily basis. This is the case for Syria with much destruction of health facilities and increasing numbers of people killed and injured. We retain however our focus on the core theme of this paper which is on conflict and on sanctions.

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