Damascus (ICRC) – A three-day seminar on surgical techniques for treating weapon-wounded patients, attended by 45 surgeons, ended today in Damascus. The event – the first of its kind held by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Syria since the onset of the current crisis – was run in collaboration with the ministries of health and higher education and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).
"The ongoing crisis is taking a heavy toll on the Syrian health-care system," said Dr Ali Touati, the ICRC surgeon chairing the seminar. "The shortage of medical supplies and sudden influx of wounded patients make the job of the surgeons extremely strenuous and demanding. Honing their knowledge and skills in managing weapon-wounded patients and learning to apply best practices will help save lives even in situations where resources are limited."
As an organization with a wealth of experience in this field, the ICRC has been conducting seminars on treating weapon-wounded patients for over 25 years, and over 300 such events have taken place in dozens of countries. "In the past few days we have also learnt a great deal from the Syrian surgeons, who continue to perform their duties in very challenging circumstances," continued Dr Touati.
The surgeons, who were drawn from the country's major hospitals, took the opportunity to share their experiences of dealing with challenging situations. "This conflict has been the most important school for Syria's surgeons and we are learning from each other," said Dr Jihad Abdin, head of neurology at Assad University Hospital in Damascus. "We have a shortage of specialized surgeons, facilities and equipment. Now, more than ever, we need to apply specialized skills that have never been taught to us before."
In addition to sharing surgical knowledge and skills, the seminar participants addressed the issues of protecting health-care facilities and staff from the effects of the fighting, and of delivering impartial health care to all who need it.
The ICRC in Syria has been providing ad hoc support to State-run health-care facilities by providing medicines and other supplies. The organization also repairs and rebuilds health clinics, and supports the running of workshops for SARC health personnel as part of its primary health-care programme.
For further information:
Pawel Krzysiek, ICRC Damascus, mobile: +963 930 336 718 or +963 951 333 244
Twitter: @PKrzysiekICRC, Skype: PKrzysiekICRC