Syrian Arab Republic Humanitarian Response Plan 2018

WHO/Syrian Arab Republic

Funding requirements for 2018

Health sector funding requirements

US$ 420 million for 2018 (health partners including WHO).

WHO funding requirements

US$ 142.5 million.

Beneficiaries targeted by health partners

Health partners will target 11.2 million people in 2018.


Close to seven years into the crisis, the scale, severity, and complexity of needs across the Syrian Arab Republic remain deep and far-reaching. Over half of the country’s population has fled their homes: 5.5 million people have sought refuge in the region and beyond, and 6.1 million people are internally displaced. Over 13 million people remain in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 5.6 million people face acute humanitarian needs.

An estimated 1.7 million people were displaced in the first nine months of 2017 alone. While the number of people in UN-declared besieged areas decreased compared to last year, the humanitarian situation for those trapped in the remaining areas is dire. Amid the disruption caused by prolonged hostilities, extensive displacement, family separation and disruption of community networks, access to basic services as well as livelihood opportunities remain scarce.

Health sector situation

Throughout 2017, the health situation in the Syrian Arab Republic continued to deteriorate. People most at risk include people living with chronic diseases, children who are not vaccinated, pregnant women and neonates who have no access to life-saving obstetric care, girls and women with poor access to essential reproductive health care, those in need for mental health and psychosocial support, and survivors of trauma, including the war wounded.

High numbers of war injuries due to hostilities continue to be reported. Some 30% of trauma injuries are reportedly linked with a permanent disability and the remaining survivors of trauma suffer temporary physical disabilities. This is of particular concern as intensified fighting in Deir-ez-Zor and Ar-Raqqa during the second half of 2017 has led to an increase in the number of trauma cases.

Referral systems for trauma, emergency obstetric care and surgical services are insufficient, and there remains limited capacity for mobile clinics to reach out to temporary settlements and host communities. The maintenance of medical equipment is also a core challenge.

Lack of basic services, including electricity, fuel, safe drinking water and basic sanitation services increase vulnerability to disease outbreaks such as diarrhoeal diseases, typhoid and hepatitis. The protracted nature of the crisis has negatively affected immunization coverage rates, further reducing herd immunity and increasing the risk of outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases.

In 2017, attacks continued to result in damage and destruction of health infrastructure and death and injury of health workers causing major disruption and closure of services, limiting the ability of vulnerable people to access essential lifesaving medical assistance and critically affecting service sufficiency of remaining facilities and availability of staff to provide services. Less than half of Syria’s health facilities are fully operational, and there is a rise in disease outbreaks including over 70 new polio cases.

One in five Syrians is at risk of developing moderate mental health issues, and one in 30 is at risk of developing severe or acute mental health problems. Local and regional health services remain highly fragmented with no clear referral pathways for those who need specialized medical care.

Continuation of severely restricted access to UN-declared besieged and hard-to-reach areas for delivery of health assistance is highly probable, as removal of essential medical supplies from cross-line convoys and blockage of medical evacuations may continue. Access for cross-border actors is critically and progressively restricted, with partners facing challenges for medical evacuations and transport of supplies and staff across borders.

Humanitarian Response Plan strategic objectives

Objective 1: Provide life-saving and life-sustaining humanitarian health assistance with an emphasis on those most at risk and in need.

Objective 2: Strengthen health sector coordination and health information systems to improve the effectiveness of life-saving health response for people in need, with an emphasis on enhancing protection and increasing access for health.

Objective 3: Improve health system capacity for support of continuity of care and strengthen community resilience and response to IDP movements and disease outbreaks

Strengthening trauma care/mass casualty management and physical rehabilitation.
Requested funds US$ 21 506 125

Improving sustainable and quality secondary health care, obstetric care and referral services across the country.
Requested funds US$ 49 573 989

Sustaining and improving delivery of primary health care services addressing chronic diseases, child and maternal health of the affected populations across the Syrian Arab Republic.
Requested funds US$ 24 090 513

Scaling up the national and sub-national immunization programme and polio eradication activities.
Requested funds US$ 21 910 796

Reinforcing national and sub-national surveillance systems for the early detection, prevention and control of potential epidemic prone.
Requested funds US$ 6 082 326

Enhance mental health and psychosocial support services.
Requested funds US$ 8 031 551

Strengthening health information systems for emergency response and resilience
Requested funds US$ 3 311 719

Reinforce inter- and intra-hub health sector coordination for effective health response.
Requested funds US$ 2 731 000

Strengthen the prevention and early detection of malnutrition in children under five and referral for treatment of complicated cases of SAM.
Requested funds US$ 2 731 000

Establishing water quality monitoring and integrated medical waste management systems in areas of returnees and IDP camps.
US$ 4 099 143

- Over 14 million medical treatments were delivered, of which 66% went to hard-to-reach and besieged areas and almost 3 million were delivered through cross-border operations

- 1294 health care facilities across the country received regular deliveries of life-saving medicines and supplies.

- Almost 700 pieces of medical equipment were donated to hospitals and clinics for laboratory, anaesthesiology, diagnostic and surgical services.

- Almost 2.5 million children were vaccinated against polio; almost 4.8 million vaccinated against measles and 2.4 million were vaccinated through cross-border activities

- 6 primary health care centres were rehabilitated and 1 hospital in Ar -Raqqa governorate was re-equipped.

-Emergency department of Al-Muasat referral hospital in Damascus was fully rehabilitated.

- Over 1670 sentinel sites across the country reported to the disease surveillance system, including from hard-to-reach and besieged areas.

- Almost 27 000 health care staff were trained on a wide range of topics.

- 743 000 children were screened for malnutrition at 586 WHO-supported nutrition surveillance centres.

- 650 unsafe sources of drinking water were tested, and mitigation measures were taken.

- Water supply and purification systems were fully rehabilitated in two main referral hospitals in Damascus.


In 2017 WHO received financial contributions to support its humanitarian work in the Syrian Arab Republic from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, European Commission for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, Japan, China, Norway, Lithuania, United Nations Development Program, Qatar, and Kuwait.

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Contact information

WHO Country Office
Ms Elizabeth Hoff
WHO Representative

WHO Regional Office
Mr Brian Tisdall
External Relations

Mr. Faisal Yousaf
External Relations