A Devastating Toll

The impact of three years of war on the health of Syria's children

March 2014


Syria’s three-year civil war has had a devastating impact on children.

At least 1.2 million children have fled the conflict and become refugees in neighbouring countries. Another 4.3 million children in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance.

These horrifying facts are recognised worldwide. But this report for the first time tells another, less obvious, story of the forgotten casualties of war.

It's not just the bullets and the shells that are killing and maiming children. They are also dying from the lack of basic medical care.

A Devastating Toll looks at the destruction of the health system in Syria and what this means for children and their mothers. It outlines: 

  • the lack of skilled medical staff and of access to child-focused care, equipment and medicine

  • the impact of the breakdown in the healthcare system on maternal and newborn health

  • the rise of vaccine-preventable and infectious diseases in children. 

In short, Syria’s humanitarian crisis has become a devastating health crisis.

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Related reading

Untold Atrocities: The stories of Syria's children

Hunger in a War Zone: The growing crisis behind the conflict

Childhood Under Fire: The impact of two years of conflict in Syria