Situation in Ghouta Declining Rapidly


The situation in eastern Ghouta has been declining rapidly, as airstrikes intensify, and the supplies needed to treat the ill and wounded are running low due to the siege. 

Hundreds have been wounded in the past few weeks and many have been killed by intensifying airstrikes. There are also reports of victims experiencing symptoms of exposure to chemical agents. 

Many children are experiencing, or or on the brink of malnutrition, as two more babies died in the past week due to malnutrition and lack of medications.

Doctors warn if something is not done soon to let humanitarian aid inside Ghouta, there could be a human catastrophe, as there are over 300,000 people still trying to survive in Ghouta. 

SAF/UOSSM USA Host Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Conflict Presentation


The Syrian American Foundation in collaboration with UOSSM USA, ICGC, and Xavier University Foreign Policy Leadership Council, held a presentation on Saturday October 21, by Dr. Hossam Alnahhas, "Chemical Weapon Use in the Syrian Conflict; An Eyewitness Account".

Dr. Alnahhas is the coordinator for CBRN-TF (Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Task Force) for the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM), and was invited by Harvard University FXB Center for Human Rights to work on a project, "The Burden of War".  

Dr. Alnahhas developed a unique set of skills which helped to document the events in Syria in the past few years. Dr. Alnahaas shared his story about how his life changed during the conflict in Syria, and how his success led him to the invitation by Harvard University that will train him to collect medical data during wars. 


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UOSSM Doctors in Danger Campaign Goes Viral on


"To Kill a Healthcare Worker is to Kill Humanity"

Dr. Monzer Yazji, President of UOSSM USA, along with board doctors from all member organizations of UOSSM created a petition to call for an immediate stop to the attacks on doctors, medical staff and medical facilities. Over 150,000 people have signed the petition so far. This is all part of the "Doctors in Danger" Campaign launched by UOSSM. 

Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria in 2011, at least 732 doctors and medical staff were killed. According to the UOSSM Syrian Hospitals Report, all 107 hospitals in Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Hama, Daraa, Quneitra and Homs were attacked at least once by a direct or indirect air strike in 2016. Some were targeted up to 25 times with an average of three attacks per hospital.

Since September there was a surge in violence as 18 medical facilities were attacked, most of which were at least partially put out of service, leaving thousands of vulnerable civilians with no access to medical care. 

Please click here to sign the petition, and please share with friends and family. 


Violent Attacks Return in War-Torn Syria


For months the situation was improving in Syria, as news of attacks and bloodshed was dramatically reduced. But for the past week the brutal violence has returned as hospitals, civil centers and civilian buildings were attacked, causing the death of at least two paramedics, with many others wounded. White Helmets workers were also injured as they were attempting to rescue wounded civilians. Please click here if you would like to read a detailed press release about the hospital attacks last week. 

UOSSM USA Approved for Medical Mobile Unit in Al Shayah Farms in Southern Daraa


UOSSM USA, a member of UOSSM International, has been approved for a Medical Mobile Unit (MMU) in Al Shayah farms, in southern Daraa, by the UN OCHA/JHF Humanitarian Fund. The project will last for six months, and will directly benefit and provide basic healthcare services to an estimated 8250 internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Al Shayah Farms. There are an estimated 19,240 people residing in the area. The healthcare situation in southern Syria is diminishing rapidly, leaving many without access to quality healthcare. There is a shortage of medical personnel and a major lack of medications used to treat chronic illnesses, while the risk of communicable diseases is increasing. Daraa has the second largest population of IDPs with over 53,000 as of February 2016, with the intense bombardment in certain areas, that number has certainly increased in 2017. Al Shayah farms is a previously uninhabited farm. Internally displaced people used this area for shelter by establishing their own camps. Transportation in the area is extremely difficult as there are no roads leading to the area.

There are no local or international organizations/humanitarian aid serving this area where almost half of the inhabitants are children. The area has a very limited access to food and clean water, and people are living in uninhabitable living conditions. The medical mobile unit (MMU) will provide life-saving and life-sustaining services to vulnerable people who have been displaced by conflict. These people have been without access to healthcare services and those with acute and chronic illnesses have had little/no access to medications. The MMU will travel to populated areas and provide primary care medical consultations/examinations and free medications to patients, many of the free healthcare services that will be provided cater to women and children, such as, reproductive services, antenatal /postnatal care, and awareness education about breastfeeding, and gender based violence. Patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, will also receive medications. All services provided by the MMU will be free of charge.

The MMU will save lives by providing transportation to area hospitals, to those in life and death situations. In addition, the MMU will also follow up on children’s illnesses, and provide nutritional services and supplements such as vitamins. UOSSM USA anticipates that 70% of women and children who visit the mobile clinic will receive treatment. With women's health in mind, the MMU team will have a midwife on staff, and the team will be trained to identify and address women’s reproductive health issues, and childhood illnesses and diseases.

UOSSM USA will coordinate with medical organizations to optimize the provision of the best quality care, and will coordinate closely with the Daraa Governate, the Directorate of Health in Daraa, the UOSSM office in southern Syria, community leaders and the Local Council, and other NGOs/ INGOs as appropriate to ensure complementarity and the provision of the best quality of care. There will also be coordination with the Health Sector Working group. The MMU will be supported by the Jordan Regional Office. This is a major step for UOSSM USA as we begin this endeavor to save lives and build hope in Al Shayah Farms. 

Interaction Forum Organized by UOSSM USA on June 22, Was Lively Discussion


The breakout session, on June 22 at Interaction Forum 2017, “Re-envisioning Partnership in Humanitarian Response: Insights from Syria”, organized by UOSSM USA was a lively discussion. The forum was moderated by Julien Schopp of Interaction, our panelists Mais Balkhi of Syrian Relief and Development, Hakan Bilgin of Dunya Doktorlari Dernegi (Doctors of the World), Dr. Lina Murad of Syrian American Medical Society, and Dr. Mahmoud Hariri of UOSSM International, shared their experiences and insights on the challenges of partnership between national and international NGOs and possible ways forward.

A variety of operational challenges have had a hand in shaping the response to the crisis.  While Syrian NGOs are on the front lines, they face challenges such as transferring funds into Syria, finding and retaining qualified staff, not having a “seat at the table”, and obtaining donor funding. International organizations have the organizational infrastructure and experience to handle the banking, obtaining donor funding, and applying lessons learned from other humanitarian responses, but are not able to enter Syria and have faced challenges with registration and operations in neighboring countries.

The panelists hit on a fundamental truth for partnership- trust is essential.  They spoke openly about the many factors that affect trust building for better or worse.  For instance, they recognized that political objectives, either of donors or NGOs, might keep them skeptical of each other. Another factor is the tension between national organizations knowing the needs on the ground, while international organizations have learned lessons from other experiences that should be taken into consideration.  A third factor is the recognition that there are risks of fraud, waste and abuse and that both national NGOs and international NGOs need to work together to reduce to ensure donors’ continued trust.

Looking forward, the panelists suggested several concrete recommendations. First, conduct thorough needs assessment in consultation with local authorities. Second, invite Syrian organizations to the table for strategic decision-making and planning. Third, coordinate carefully among all implementers and with local authorities to maximize scarce resources.  Fourth, provide long term capacity building and mentoring to partners rather than workshops and conferences. Lastly, both national and international organizations alike should be open to criticism and learning that can improve how they deliver their much-needed services in a humanitarian response. These recommendations will inevitably lead to greater trust and deeper partnership. 

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UOSSM USA Organizes Breakout Session at Interaction Forum 2017

UOSSM USA is organizing a breakout session at the Interaction Forum 2017 entitled “Re-envisioning Partnership in Humanitarian Response: Insights from Syria” this session is scheduled for Thursday June 22 at 9:00-10:30 a.m. The Forum is scheduled for Tuesday, June 20, 2017 through Thursday, June 22. 

UOSSM is honored to be a part of this important gathering of international development and humanitarian professionals. As an alliance organization in Washington DC, Interaction serves as a convener, thought leader and voice of our community. It’s 180-plus members are united in a commitment to working with the world's poor and vulnerable, and a belief that we can make the world a more peaceful, just and prosperous place.

UOSSM USA’s “Re-envisioning Partnership in Humanitarian Response: Insights from Syria” session will examine challenges and opportunities of local and international partnership faced in Syria. Seven years into the Syrian crisis, there is increased awareness of the need to provide capacity building support to national and local actors implementing humanitarian programs and examine more deeply what partnership means in localizing the humanitarian response. Can we begin to realize the humanitarian community’s Grand Bargain, and its commitment to allocate 25% of global humanitarian funding to national responders by 2020, in Syria?

Together, panelists and participants will identify changes that re-envision partnership in Syria and the next crisis.

Our esteemed moderator and panelists are:

Moderator: Julien Schopp, Director of Humanitarian Practice, Interaction


Mais Balkhi, Advocacy & Outreach Manager, Syria Relief and Development

Hakan Bilgin, President, Dunya Doktorlari Dernegi (Doctors of the World)

Dr. Lina Murad, Board Member, Syrian American Medical Society

Dr. Mahmoud Hariri, Research Director, UOSSM International, Senior Fellow, Harvard University Humanitarian Initiative, Scholar at Risk Program Mahmoud goes by the name Abdulaziz and has been a trauma surgeon in Syria. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Humanitarian Imitative through the Scholars at Risk program. This program’s main purpose is to provide a safe environment for a scholar to pursue research and scholarly or artistic interests; it is not envisaged as an opportunity to mobilize political support on the issues giving rise to the scholar's predicament (though such activity is not excluded). Dr. Hariri is a surgeon and former faculty member of Aleppo University Faculty of Medicine. Since the start of the war, he has dedicated his life to providing trauma care to all in need, as well as training junior physicians under his supervision to do the same. In addition, Dr. Hariri was the Director of Research for the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations and was a focal point for most NGOs operating inside Syria. In this role, he led a nationwide survey of hospitals to identify their capacity to provide trauma care.

Dr. Mahmoud Hariri holds a Doctorate of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Aleppo University, and a Master’s Degree in General Surgery, faculty of Medicine, Aleppo University.

To join us for this session and the Interaction Forum 2017 please go to to register.

UOSSM Releases Syrian Hospital Report

UOSSM  released the UOSSM Syrian Hospital Report which is the most comprehensive of its kind. 
Key Findings of the Syrian Hospitals Surveillance Report: 
• All 107 hospitals examined in Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Hammah, Daraa, Quneitra, and Homs were hit at least once by a direct airstrike. Some hospitals were struck as many as 25 times. On average each hospital was attacked three times in 2016. 
• Three-quarters of the hospitals surveyed were located in buildings not designed to house medical facilities and were in fact makeshift hospitals, ill-equipped to provide the needed medical care. Four were dug in caves.
• More than half of all hospitals’ staff had no training to prepare for or respond to airstrikes, or chemical weapons; and one third of hospital staff had no experience in occupational safety or risk management.
• There is an alarming scarcity of medical specialties like vascular surgery, neurosurgery, and plastic surgery, and the relevant equipment needed. Certain specialities' manpower, such as general surgeons, was down by 25% from the year before.
• As a result of this data, UOSSM for the first time concludes that new measures are urgently needed to protect hospitals and medical workers from aerial attacks."

Please click here to read the full report.

UOSSM Acquires ISO 9001 Certification


UOSSM announced in the Annual Medical Conference in Gaziantep, the acquisition of the ISO 9001 Certification, in the presence of Turkish government officials, and representatives of UOSSM member organizations.

ISO 9001 Is the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). Organizations use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. Despite the global importance and prestige of the ISO Certification, that was not the goal of UOSSM . The goal of the ISO Certification was to raise UOSSM’s standards and to provide the best quality care, following the international standards of excellence to all UOSSM beneficiaries.

Every time the organization grows, staff responsibilities grow as well. For this reason, a strategic plan, in sync with all rules and regulations to ensure quality assurance of all services is utterly important.

In 2014, two years after the establishment of UOSSM, the UOSSM staff in Syria and Turkey attended the first training workshop about the importance of ISO standards implementation. It was then that UOSSM made the decision to acquire the ISO 9001 certification. 
ISO standards are implemented worldwide to unify standards, with the goal of improving quality production of services by organizations. The process of acquiring this certification involves overseeing all projects and activities, with detailed records, in all departments of the organization.

UOSSM is so proud of this accomplishment which will indeed help us to save lives, and build hope, with the highest quality standards.

Another Hospital Attacked and Put out of Service in Idlib

WhatsApp_Image_2017-04-25_at_3.43.51_AM.jpegAnother hospital was put out of service in Idlib early this morning, damaging it and putting it out of service. The Kafr Takhareem Surgical Hospital provided services to over 100,000 and provided 1300 consultations, 105 major surgeries and 18 war related trauma cases per month. This is the sixth hospital to be attacked in Idlib in the month of April. Please click here to read the full press release. 

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