Humanitarian Health Action

Syrian Arab Republic Humanitarian Response Plan 2016

After five years of conflict, the Syrian Arab Republic’s humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate during 2015. An estimated 13.5 million people (including 6 million children) are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 11.5 million people require urgent health care and 8.7 million are food insecure. Seventy per cent of the population have no regular access to safe drinking water.

To date the conflict is estimated to have killed over 250 000 people, injured more than 1.2 million, and left extensive contamination from explosives. Over half of the population has been displaced, including 1.2 million people in 2015. Many people have been displaced for the third or fourth time. Over 4.2 million Syrians are now refugees. Since the onset of the crisis, the average life expectancy in the Syrian Arab Republic’s has fallen by 20 years.

The humanitarian response in the Syrian Arab Republic is a complex operation with humanitarian assistance and protection services delivered mainly from multiple UN hubs within the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as from Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq (see Syrian Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan, on the following pages).

Health Sector Situation

The conflict has left two-thirds of the public hospitals destroyed or only partly functioning, while the shortage of specialised medical staff, ambulances, equipment and medical supplies has increased the number of preventable deaths. Over 3.1 million children under the age of five years old and pregnant and lactating women are at risk of malnutrition. One in three children cannot be reached with vaccines. There are 4.5 million people in need in hard-to-reach and besieged areas.

Lack of basic utility services including electricity, fuel, safe drinking water and basic sanitation services have increased the vulnerability to disease outbreaks such as diarrhoeal diseases, typhoid, hepatitis A, as well as other vaccine-preventable diseases. Essential health services have been further disrupted by the exodus of qualified health-care workers, a 60% drop in local production of pharmaceuticals, and a 50% increase in prices of locally produced pharmaceuticals. At least 640 health care workers have been killed since the crisis started, and medical facilities continue to be attacked.

People with life-threatening chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure, asthma, epilepsy, cancer and cardiovascular illness are at an increased risk of dying or developing complications as access to life-saving medications and care is becoming more difficult. A severe shortage in skilled-birth attendants, including obstetricians, means that there are major obstacles to providing care to an estimated 300 000 women who are pregnant and need targeted support. Only 10% of primary health care centres provide basic mental health services. The number of people seeking mental health care is increasing – current estimates indicate 600 000 people are living with severe mental illness in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Health Sector Objectives

Objective 1: To provide life-saving and life-sustaining humanitarian health assistance to affected people.

Planned outputs:

  • Provide primary health care services, including child and maternal health.
  • Strengthen trauma and injuries care.
  • Provide essential medicines and supplies.
  • Strengthen of the provision of physical rehabilitation services at the facility level.
  • Support immunization services.
  • Strengthen and expanding the communicable disease surveillance system.
  • Provide Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care services at health facilities.
  • Support mental health services at facility level.
  • Strengthen management of non-communicable disease treatment and prevention.
  • Strengthen referral system.

Objective 2: To strengthen health sector coordination and health information systems to improve the life-saving health response for people in need, with an emphasis on enhancing protection and increasing access to health services.

Planned outputs:

  • Coordination meetings held regularly at hub and Whole of Syria (WoS) level to eliminate overlap, identify gaps and consolidate efforts between the five hubs to increase access to hard-to-reach areas listed in UNSCR 2139, 2165, 2191.
  • Mainstream protection efforts throughout health programming through coordination fora and training/workshops with health partners.
  • Roll out health information systems (HIS) at the cluster/working group level.
  • Joint contingency and preparedness planning across the five hubs.
  • Flash assessment of emergency situations and design of rapid response.

Objective 3: To support community resilience, institutional and response capacity by empowering communities and national actors.

Planned outputs:

  • Training, retaining and increasing the capacity of health care providers
  • Training community health-care workers
  • Rehabilitating and reinforcing health facilities, including physical structure, equipment/ supplies to provide safe and secure environments for health service delivery
  • Capacity building of NNGOs and health institutions to support Syrian leadership of the health sector
  • Promote mobile medical units for emergency response

Beneficiaries targeted by health partners in 2016

Health partners will target 11.5 million people in 2016 (4.5 million internally displaced people and 7 million people in host communities), including over 3.1 million children under the age of five years old and pregnant and lactating women.

Geographical areas targeted by health partners in 2016

Health partners are addressing large-scale humanitarian needs throughout all 14 governorates.

Health partners funding requirements for 2016

US$ 437 208 904 (health partners including WHO)

WHO funding requirements for 2016

Syrian Arab Republic: US$ 141 385 094

Turkey: 11 620 000

Jordan: 651 000

A total of US$ 155 271 474 for the following projects:

Health sector funding requirements
US$ 459,248,121
(health partners including WHO)

WHO requirements
US$ 163,748,100

Natural disaster profiles

Access to water and sanitation

WHO and emergencies