Health Ministry Receives Medical Shipments from UNHCR Valued at USD 1.2 Million
Jun 3, 2013
The Health Ministry on Monday received 25 medical shipments valued at USD 1.2 million from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Health Minister Dr. Saad al-Nayef said the shipments include medicine for heart diseases, cancer, and other diseases needed by health establishments in the current circumstances, and that they will be distributed as of Tuesday across provinces according to each area’s needs.
He pointed out that these shipments are part of the Ministry’s efforts to meet citizens’ needs, noting that cooperation with the UNHCR, though recent in terms of meeting the needs of the health sector, has grown exponentially, as the UNHCR works to provide the Ministry’s needs of medicine that is difficult to procure in light of the unjust US-European sanctions imposed on Syria.
Al-Nayef said the Ministry hopes for more cooperation with international organizations to support the health sector, noting that in past years, Syrian public hospitals and health centers tended to refugees from Arab countries and provided them free medical services and treated them like Syrian citizens.
In turn, UNHCR resident representative Tarek al-Kurdi said that these shipments are a token of gratitude for the Syrian people who hosted millions of refugees over the years, asserting that the UNHCR will continue to support the Health Ministry, with inbound shipment valued at USD 2 million due to arrive within the next few days.
Al-Kurdi called on the international community to lift the sanctions imposed on Syria, particularly regarding the health sector which has been one of the most affected sectors, adding that he witnessed during his visits to provinces the suffering of Syrians due to the embargo which affected citizens primarily.
In March, the Health Ministry received 14 medical devices and two operation tables from the UNHCR valued at SYP 60 million.
Higher Education Minister: Hospitals Continue Providing Free Services Despite Challenges
Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Mohammad Yehya Moalla, said that the hospitals which are affiliated to the Ministry are providing services for free despite the economic sanctions imposed on the country, which are preventing the procurement of medical equipment and raising their costs.
The remarks came during the Minister’s meeting with Director of the Office of the UNHCR in Syria Tarek al-Kurdi, in Damascus on Monday.
The meeting tackled the issues of bolstering cooperation between the two sides and the efforts exerted by the Syrian government to alleviate the consequences of the crisis on the Syrian people.
Dr. Moalla hailed the efforts exerted by the UNHCR, stressing the need to enhance cooperation with it especially in providing the needs of hospitals.
For his part, al-Kurdi called for lifting the sanctions imposed on Syria, stressing the UNHCR will continue providing all possible aid.
“Syria has received refugees since 1948 before the UNHCR was even established and before the refugees law, which obligate the countries to receive refugees, was adopted,” al-Kurdi said.
M. Nassr/ H. Sabbagh