EDUCATION & TRAINING
Medical & Paramedical Practitioners
At the start of the conflict in 2011, educated estimates at the time claimed half of the 30,000 medically qualified personnel left Syria rather than practice with compromised medical ethics. This was because the antiterrorist laws proscribed against treatment solely on the basis of need; providing medical assistance to anyone who opposed the Assad regime was considered a criminal offence with severe penalties. Many of those who stayed worked secretly or moved to an area that was controlled by the opposition.
This included students who abandoned their training. Consequently, many healthcare personnel are now practicing under fire in 'Free' areas without a qualification. Those that are qualified still need to keep up to date with new developments for their professional development those that are not qualified need access to medical training at an internationally recognised standard to progress their status to "licensed practitioners" both for now and for the future of Syria. The Nott Foundation aims to provide surgeons practicing in warzones with hands-on and remote guidance in the complex surgical procedures required to manage severe injuries inflicted by explosive weapons. The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM) which coordinates medical relief and healthcare to Syrians also supports specialised medical training for doctors, while the Medical Education Council trains anaesthetists to practice inside Syria.
Here I talk with trainers and students about what motivates them, the challenges they face and achievements they have made.