Syria ensures medicine supplies for chronic diseases

Damascus, Oct 31 (IANS) Despite the nearly four-year crisis and the suffocating economic sanctions against Syria, the health sector in war-torn country is still able to secure medicines for the chronic diseases free of charge, health officials said Thursday.

Nour Addien Kakaji, the head of the chronic diseases department in the Syrian health minister, told Xinhua in an interview that the ministry has undertaken many decisive measures to keep a good health condition in spite of the crisis that has swept the country.

"Truly, the health situation is stable and very good. So far, as a health department, we are still able to provide medicine for the chronic diseases in all Syrian provinces. We also have ambitious plans to develop the work so that we could reach to the patient in any area on Syrian soil," Kakaji said.

He stressing that they would reach the people in need through the Syrian Red Crescent or the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Despite the economic siege, the health ministry received alternatives of the medicine from Iran and other friendly countries. "We are getting familiar with the alternative medicine and the pharmaceutical plants in the private and public sectors, so that the alternative could be available," he said.

Kakaji said, "The challenges we are facing are largely the economic sanctions imposed on medicine. Imagine that cancer medications are also banned under the sanctions. What is the guilt of a cancer patient?" The second challenge is "the difficulty to reach the patients in hotspots areas, especially those under the rebels' control", he added.

Health sector is different from other sectors, Kakaji said that "imposing a siege on health sector is basically killing patients and thus the sanctions that have been imposed on Syria are unjust".

"Under these tough circumstances, Syria is still securing and providing the medicine for chronic diseases despite the high costs of such medicines."

On Syria's preparations against Ebola, Kakaji said the ministry had made courses on all levels and prepared the medical staff in a bid to spread awareness about the way the Ebola virus spreads and its symptoms.

"We have also equipped all of the hospitals with special clinics and trained medical staff. We made courses for the medical staffers on border points and airports in cooperation with the Health Ministry and the Interior Ministry as a precautionary measure," he said, adding that Syria was Ebola free.


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