Thursday, September 19, 2013

WHO says drug shortage in Syria has led to critical situation

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the crisis in Syria has caused a serious shortage of vital medicines in the country.

The WHO said on Wednesday that the shortage has created “a very critical situation” in Syria.

“Pharmaceutical factories only cover 20 to 30 percent of the needs, though they used to cover 90 percent” WHO’s Elisabeth Hoff said.

Hoff went on to explain that most of the country’s pharmaceutical factories are located in Homs and Aleppo, where there have been heavy clashes between Syrian army forces and foreign-backed Takfiri militants.

Reports indicate that nearly 20 of Syria’s 73 factories have been closed down due to damage, transport complications, and a halt in the import of materials.

In March, the WHO warned that the production of medicine in Syria had dropped as a result of restrictions on imports and financial transactions.

Syria’s Health Ministry lab director Habib Abbud said that the crisis in the country was “having a very serious effect on the pharmaceutical industry.”

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011.

British defense consultancy IHS Jane’s estimates that some 10,000 militants out of a total of about 100,000, with many being foreign nationals, are fighting for groups affiliated with al-Qaeda such as the al-Nusra Front and the rest fight for different militant groups.

According to the UN, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million of others displaced due to the turmoil in Syria.

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