Al-Assad receives WHO chief: Syria aims to increase cooperation
The WHO chief says cooperation with the Syrian government will continue to respond to the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and the needs of the people affected.
Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, heading a delegation, visited Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on Sunday in Damascus as part of his trip to the country following the devastating earthquake.
Al-Assad expressed his appreciation for the organization's efforts in assisting Syria and extending support to its health sector, stressing that the delegation's visit comes at a crucial time as the country is in dire need of medical and humanitarian aid to help the people affected by the catastrophe.
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Syria aims for further cooperation with the health organization in order to address the country's needs in the health sector, which is currently facing mass shortages in basic medical equipment and health aid and was unequipped to respond to emergencies, such as the earthquake or the pandemic.
Syria's leader also added that medical supplies to treat people with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and cancer are also needed.
In his turn, Tedros shed light on his visit to quake-struck Aleppo yesterday and considered it an opportunity to assess the required aid and medical supplies needed by the survivors.
He also said the WHO has sent a batch of emergency medical supplies while another batch will be delivered in the coming days, adding that the organization is ready to cooperate with Damascus in its response to the aftermath of the event and offer the assistance required.
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It's noteworthy that the WHO's chief arrived in Syria on Saturday, five days after the country was hit by the powerful earthquakes.
Tedros arrived at Aleppo International Airport to tour some hospitals of the city, along with the Syrian Health Minister and Aleppo Governor.
"We have brought with us 35 tonnes of the most needed medicines for the victims of the earthquake," the WHO chief was quoted as saying by SANA state news agency.
"We are very happy that we could come with the supplies," he told reporters at Aleppo airport.
"This is the first supply we are sending," he added, noting that the organization would continue to provide emergency medical services and bring in more emergency supplies necessary for "trauma management".
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On his part, Syrian Health Minister Hassan Al-Ghabash indicated that Tedros' visit was "of great importance in many aspects."
"We hope that Dr. Tedros sees the reality of hospitals and what they lack," the Syrian Minister added, calling on the WHO to help provide equipment the country is in dire need of.
The United Nations highlighted earlier that the disaster may have left up to 5.3 million people homeless in Syria, including 200,000 people in Aleppo alone.
The World Health Organization, which has already released $16 million from its emergency fund, had previously said up to 23 million people could be impacted.
The organization will issue "an appeal for Turkey and Syria for over $40 million," WHO regional emergency director Richard Brennan said earlier.