Gift of the Givers Hospital Inundated After Liberation of Idlib City

The expansion of the Gift of the Givers Ar Rahmah Hospital (Mercy) in Darkoush, North Syria, couldn't have come at a more opportune time in endeavouring to reduce suffering and save human life in war ravaged Syria.  The liberation of Idlib City from Assad's forces in the past five days is a case in point.  The Gift of the Givers Hospital has been inundated with casualties from Idlib City, the capital of Idlib Province, as a result of this turn of events.  We opened three theatres to cater for the huge influx as we now have the capacity and skilled medical personnel for the purpose.  Some of the injured were victims of chemical weapons, viz, Chlorine gas.

The hospital was a simple non-medical building in Darkoush which we converted into an emergency medical facility within 70 days at the beginning of 2013.  We then took South African medical teams to serve the hospital and surrounding areas in April 2013.  It was very apparent that the future needs of Syria would require a vastly expanded medical facility given that Assad's regime deliberately targets medical facilities and medical personnel.  A report by Physicians for Human Rights documents the destruction of 189 medical facilities and the death of 660 medical personnel as a direct onslaught by Assad's forces in a four year period.  Indeed, Assad tried on many occasions to bomb the Gift of the Givers Hospital.  Many of the medical personnel serving there have come from other bombed medical facilities.  Dr Ahmad Ghandour, head of our medical facility was arrested in Aleppo for saving the lives of ordinary civilians.  He managed to escape to Darkoush in 2012 and is responsible for the establishment of the entire medical facility which now is a three storey multidisciplinary facility with further expansion of an equal sized building directly opposite the present hospital.

Dr Ahmad Ghandour escaped death again yesterday; 30 minutes before he reached the National General Hospital of Idlib for a meeting, it was bombed by Assad's forces.  Two days prior to this the Red Crescent Hospital was also totally flattened by Assad's aircraft.

The Gift of the Givers Hospital treats 10 000 patients monthly, many of whom are civilian casualties.  Many have died on the way to the hospital as they come from various areas including Homs, Latakia and Aleppo for skilled medical care.  Gift of the Givers provides more than just total medical care to our hospital.  Medical supplies are given to many hospitals but most of which have been destroyed now; in cases of heavy bombing we send medical teams to assist the limited medical personnel in other areas including Aleppo.  Food, water, tents, baby milk powder, diapers, blankets, clothing, support of refugee camps, education and sending primary health care medical teams to refugee camps are other services we provide inside Syria.  We thank all those who have assisted in saving thousands of innocent lives and providing care to a nation suffering unimaginable difficulty, 14 million of whom are internally and externally displaced.  

Those wanting to support our continuous efforts in Syria can deposit into Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account No. 052278611, Branch Code 057525.  Please send deposit slip by fax or email with full details for acknowledgement purposes.

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