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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Six Year Old Girl and Both Her Parents Killed in Attack on Hospital in Idlib


A six year old girl was killed in the hospital where she was scheduled to have an operation in her abdomen. Initial reports showed that little Sema was recovering from surgery, but the young girl was actually getting anesthesia for her surgery at the time the hospital was attacked killing her and her two parents who were accompanying her.

Two others were killed in the attack, and two nurses were wounded. One nurse is in serious condition with a spinal injury.  

This attack left thousands in the southern suburbs of Idlib without any access to hospitals, as this was the sixth and last hospital in the area that was attacked and put out of service. 

UOSSM's Largest Hospital Treats 114 of 273 Wounded in Explosion at Evacuation Point


UOSSM largest hospital in northern region treated 114 victims of the explosion at the Al Rashideen evacuation point. The explosion killed 126 including over 50 children and wounded 273. Five of the children died from their injuries. The transferred patients included over 20 children and 53 women. UOSSM is working relentlessly to save the lives of the victims of these attacks. 

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Five Day Old Baby Dies From Chemical Agent Exposure


A five day old baby died Friday, April 7 after exposure to a chemical agent ( suspected chlorine) on Monday, April 3, in Habeet, Idlib. The father of the baby was killed five months earlier and the baby's mother made the decision to move to that area in search of a sense of security and safety. Unfortunately that was not the case, as the baby, only a few days old, was exposed to a chemical agent from an attack in the area. The tiny body of the baby fought to stay alive, but after a few days the baby could not fight anymore, succumbed to his injuries and passed away at the very tender age of five days old. 

Chemical Attack Kills Over 100 and Injures at Least 750


The chemical attack on April 4, killed over 100 and injured at least 750 according to reports from the Idlib Health Directorate and area hospitals. Many patients remain in critical condition. 

Due to the fact that many hospitals were put out of service from previous attacks, and no access to medications and equipment to treat an attack of this magnitude many of these victims could have been saved. 

Symptoms victims experienced include: asphyxiation, foaming at the mouth, severe breathing difficulties, and non-reactive pupils, which are all consistent with a chemical weapon.

You can help us provide area hospitals with support, medications, and the urgent care they so desperately need.

Please click here to read the full press release.

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A Doctor Was Killed Today From a Chemical Attack While Operating on a Patient


Dr. Ali Ahmad Darwish was killed today in the line of duty. While operating on a patient as the Latamneh Hospital was attacked with a chemical agent. Dr. Darwish refused to abandon his operation until he succumbed to the fumes that took his life. Dr. Darwish gave his life to help others, just as so many other doctors in Syria. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Dr. Darwish. #NotATarget #SaveSyria#Syria

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