Under the "Quest Health 2020" Initiative, funded by Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) is implementing a program to enhance the capacity of health workers in northern Syria.

It is a scheme aimed at backing the health sector with high-caliber workforce, to ensure continued provision of medical services for a 4 million underserved population. By extension, this will help to address the shortage in specialized medical professionals; improve the quality of medical services; and reduce mortality, morbidity, and disability rates.

This two-year program falls under the life-saving medical support project for Syrian women and children. At the same time, there is another program to upgrade and unify the health data collection, analysis, and management systems used by the Health Directorates and humanitarian organizations operating there.

Under the program, the Academy of Health Sciences in Idlib is receiving multifaceted support. First, 125 students are trained in several specializations, such as nursing, physiotherapy, and health emergency. Also, its resident doctors program, which enrolls 20 multispecialty physicians, is supported to supply the health sector with the needed specializations.

For the first time in this part of the country, six MA scholarships are available at a globally prestigious university, to join distance learning programs on public health, epidemiology, and health policy. These scholarships will be granted to proficient physicians, health care administration and health policy specialists, and decision-makers in the health sector.

Launched in April 2020, the program will last until May 2022. By then, all the students, physicians, and health decision-makers would have been graduated to begin serving the community and internally displaced people (IDPs).

For years now, the northern governorates of Syria have been experiencing terrible living conditions. The health sector have been subject to systematic destruction, and hospitals have become military targets. As a result, there emerged a severe gap in qualified medical professionals, most of whom have left the country. With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, there are growing concerns about a looming humanitarian disaster due to lack of medical resources.

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