Syrian doctors crowdfund underground women and children’s hospital
For immediate release: for interviews contact [email protected]; +44 7437 204965
18 July 2017– A new crowdfunding campaign to build an underground hospital in Syria to protect mothers and their newborn babies from bomb attacks has been launched by a group of Syrian medics and The Syria Campaign.
For more than five years, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad with backing from Russia, has systematically attacked hospitals and maternity wards in areas out of their control. In April 2017 alone, there were 25 aerial attacks on medical facilities in Syria  – an average of one every 29 hours – and since the start of the conflict over 800 medics have been killed. 
Despite these attacks many Syrian medics have stayed to keep saving lives. They are now moving hospitals underground, into basements and caves, for protection.
Kat Fallon from The Syria Campaign said:
“There is only one truly effective way to protect Syrian medics, and that’s stopping the bombs. But while these horrific attacks continue, we must do everything in our power to support the heroic doctors who are building hospitals underground. Medical facilities and maternity wards in caves and basements are saving countless lives.”
A new report by The Syria Campaign and 13 Syrian medical organisations explores how rebuilding hospitals underground is one of the most effective ways of protecting Syrian medics and patients. Funding for underground hospitals is the number one demand of doctors and nurses across Syria, but major donor governments like the US and UK do not currently fund it because of bureaucratic red tape around emergency and long-term funding.
Syrian medics are calling on the public to help them raise the $100,000 needed to finish building a much-needed underground women and children’s hospital in one of the hardest-hit areas of the conflict.
The Avicenna Women & Children’s Hospital in Idlib will be the largest underground hospital in the province, equipped with a neonatal intensive care unit and offering comprehensive health services, including breast cancer screenings and maternal health programs, as well as training medics to perform pediatric surgeries.
Khaled Almilaji, the doctor from Aleppo who is spearheading the project, said:
“The underground Avicenna Hospital will offer security to Syrian medical workers who risk their lives every day to treat others. It will not just protect medics and patients, but also allow Syrian doctors in Turkey to feel safe enough to go back to Syria to support their colleagues. This is the most direct way we can protect life in Syria right now.”
Organisers hope the crowdfunder will offer a way for people around the world to directly help civilians caught up in the Syrian conflict.
For further information or interview requests, contact Caitlin at +44(0)7437204965 or [email protected]g
Images (credited) are available at this link
The project has been organised by The Syria Campaign, an independent human rights organisation campaigning for the protection of civilians.
All funds raised go directly to fund the Avicenna Women & Children’s Hospital, run by the Sustainable International Medical Relief Organization (SIMRO). Donations will be processed by Refugee Protection International, a U.S. based non-profit organisation.
See The Syria Campaign’s Facebook page for a Syrian couple’s story on the birth of their daughter in an underground hospital.
The Saving Lives Underground report can be read here.
In 2016, after the last children’s hospital in Aleppo was bombed, The Syria Campaign helped to raise over £245,000 to fund a People’s Convoy from the UK to Syria to build new hospital to replace it. This hospital is now up and running in north-eastern Aleppo. Read more about the People’s Convoy here.
 Syrian American Medical Society
 The Lancet