Deir-ez-Zor, Syria. “I was about to die, and I felt really weak. My condition was deteriorating after hours of vomiting. I could only get to the nearest pharmacy since no health centres or hospitals exist in my village,” said Salem, a 35-year-old man from Al-Kubar village in rural Deir-ez-Zor.
Since September 2022, cholera has been spreading across Syria. This outbreak is the first since 2009, brought on by the destruction of water infrastructure and record-low water levels in the Euphrates.
War and economic crisis weakened the healthcare system even before the outbreak. “Nealy 30 per cent of public health facilities in Syria remain non-functional,” warned Dr. Iman Shankiti, acting WHO Representative in Syria.
Money from the Central Emergency Response Fund helped close the most urgent gaps in health delivery, supporting access to services for over 750,000 vulnerable people in northeast and northwest Syria.
This includes effective disease surveillance and early warning – which has been critical to the cholera response, and to helping people like Salem.
Salem was lucky: the pharmacist he visited saw how sick he was and contacted a local health worker who was trained in Early Warning, Alert, and Response (EWARS). She suspected Salem had cholera, and arranged transport to the nearest hospital for proper treatment.
More information on the Underfunded Allocation.
Adapted from the original story.