“THE ONLY WAY TO PROTECT MEDICAL STAFF IS UNDER THE GROUND. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. OTHER THAN TO STOP THE AIRSTRIKES ON HOSPITALS.” --Dr. Farida, OB/GYN at Omar bin Abdulaziz,(M2) Hospital, East Aleppo
Health facilities in Syria are systematically targeted on a scale unprecedented in modern history. Whilst world leaders fail to stop the airstrikes the number one demand from Syrian doctors is funding to fortify hospitals and move them underground for protection.
Syrian doctors needed $100,000 to finalize the fortification of the underground Avicenna Women & Children’s Hospital in Idlib, to protect mothers and newborn babies from bombs dropped from the sky. You went above and beyond.
Together, we raised an incredible $127,417. The additional funds raised are going towards the operating costs of the pediatrics department of the hospital.
Why are underground hospitals so important?
Giving birth underground is the reality for many women in Syria. And while it is something no one should have to endure, giving birth underground in caves and basements is saving the lives of women and their newborn babies.
For more than five years, hospitals and maternity wards in Syria have been systematically targeted. There have been more than 454 attacks on medical facilities in this conflict. Over 91% of these attacks have been perpetrated by the Assad regime and Russia. In April 2017 alone, there was an aerial attack on a medical facility every 29 hours.
Despite it all, Syrian medics stay to keep saving lives. Health workers are moving hospitals underground, into basements and cave, for protection. Underground hospitals have saved countless lives.
The Syria Campaign and 13 leading Syrian medical organizations recently launched the report Saving Lives Underground: A Case for Fortified Hospitals in Syria calling on donor governments to protect doctors and their patients through underground hospitals. Several governments are considering the proposals but no major funding has been released yet – which is why we turned to crowdfunding for the protection they need.
Because of your help, the Avicenna Women & Children’s Hospital in Idlib will be the largest underground hospital in the province. The hospital will have a neonatal Intensive Care Unit and offer comprehensive health services, including breast cancer screenings and maternal health programs, as well as training medics to perform complex pediatric surgeries.
Funding the hospital
2624 people from 79 countries donated $127,417.
The Avicenna Women & Children’s Hospital crowdfunder was highlighted in Al Jazeera, The Guardian, and The Sun.
Public figures including Annie Lennox, Bryan Adams, Gillian Anderson, Livia Firth, Paloma Faith, Phoebe Tonkin, Riz Ahmed, Simon Pegg, and Sunetra Sarker all took to social media to call for support.
How you can continue to help
Fundraising for the operating costs is still ongoing and you can continue to give to this hospital through Refugee Protection International, a US based non-profit (please write Avicenna Hospital in the donation line) which supports our friends at the Syrian medical organization SIMRO, who run and oversee Avicenna Hospital.
If you’d like to keep updated on the progress of the hospital, please follow the Care4SyrianKids grassroots network on Facebook.
We’re blown away by the $127,417 raised, and are so proud to support the Syrian medics who are building this women and children’s hospital in one of the hardest-hit areas of the conflict. Your generosity has helped made this underground hospital a reality, and this is the most direct way to protect life in Syria right now.
Dr Khaled Almilaji, who is spearheading the construction of hospital, said: “Thank you to all the people around the world who had donated. You have made this hospital and protection for so many people inside Syria possible.”
Nothing is more precious than life.