Clinic Rehabilitations Expand Quality Health Care to Syrians

Speeches Shim

Monday, January 10, 2022
A doctor admitting a patient at the Kalasah Health Clinic, a USAID rehabilitated clinic in Hasakah governorate.
USAID Essential Services Program

In 2018, when violence forced Noura’s* family to flee their home in the Syrian city of Afrin, they sought safety in the northeast region of the country. The family now lives outside of Hasakah City in a small, informal camp for displaced people. 

Many Syrians who left their homes amidst the war have settled in northeast Syria. While the region has offered some stability, years of conflict negatively impacted the important services that help communities run. With limited access to social services like healthcare, people in the area are rebuilding their lives on a weakened foundation.  

For Noura, the lack of medical services took a toll on her health and her family’s finances. She requires regular medication and frequent tests to monitor her heart disease and high blood pressure, and the health clinic near the internally displaced persons camp where she lived  did not have the capacity to help. 

“I was forced to go to hospitals—and sometimes private hospitals—to get electrocardiograms and monitor my blood pressure,” Noura explained. “It cost me so much money—my health deteriorated due to our lack of money.” 

Financial barriers lead many people in northeast Syria to delay care or not seek help at all, which puts people at risk for increased health problems.  

“The distance to get to health clinics—and their cost—caused me to forgo regular checkups,” said Aya, who like Noura, lives near Hasakah City after being displaced from Afrin. “And I suffer from diabetes.” 

The need for healthcare in the area has only grown since the beginning of the conflict and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further burdened health infrastructure.

“This clinic was established during the war to deliver healthcare to displaced people, but the services were extremely limited,” said Hassan, a nurse at the clinic near Noura’s home. 

To meet the needs of Syrians living in Hasakah and Raqqa governorates, USAID embarked on a large-scale project to improve health infrastructure. USAID partnered with local health authorities to assess primary healthcare centers, selecting eight clinics in marginalized villages and neighborhoods in Hasakah and one comprehensive clinics center in Raqqa City. 

Working with local authorities, teams rehabilitated the nine clinics, several of which were severely damaged during the conflict. All of the clinics were provided generators to ensure consistent, reliable power access to electricity. In Raqqa, the comprehensive clinics center was also reconnected to the municipal grid. The clinics were provided with needed furnishing and equipment to support patient care including heaters, generators, chairs, and water coolers. The clinics will also receive needed medical equipment from the local authorities.

Prior to rehabilitation, these facilities were only partially operational with unusable care rooms, substandard and unhygienic conditions, and unreliable power. USAID’s work on these facilities has more than doubled the number of operational care rooms and provided higher quality medical facilities for these villages and neighborhoods. Healthcare providers and patients are already seeing the benefits.

The rehabilitated Comprehensive Clinics Center in Raqqa
The rehabilitated Comprehensive Clinics Center in Raqqa
USAID Essential Services Program

“This project has allowed us to drastically improve our services,” said Hassan. “Our [new] power generator and the rehabilitation have really impacted the performance of this clinic.” Noura is one of the nearly 25,000 people now receiving healthcare at the renovated centers each month. 

“The center and its presence near the camp allows me to monitor my health on a daily basis,” Noura said. “It has also improved my financial situation—the availability of treatment and free medicine allows us to use more of our finances to provide food and clothing to our children and better cope with displacement.”

In Raqqa, the Comprehensive Clinics Center, in an attempt to reduce COVID-19’s burden on the city’s health infrastructure, was converted into a center to exclusively treat COVID-19 patients.

USAID continues to work with local officials and health authorities to rehabilitate and reestablish health infrastructure across northeast Syria. In the coming months USAID will complete a number of activities to increase the region's ability to cope with COVID-19, including the establishment of a medical-grade oxygen plant, the rehabilitation of a hospital in Hasakah City, the establishment of a vaccine cold storage unit, and the rehabilitation of a COVID-19 response training center in Raqqa City.

*All names have been changed.

Last updated: September 20, 2022

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