The Last Gynecologists Risk Their Lives to Bring Life in Aleppo

Each day brings with it more sadness from the besieged Eastern district of Aleppo. The city is now the focus of daily news headlines as the fighting for the city has intensified over the past two months. Around 275,000 civilians are trapped in the city’s eastern section, caught between the ongoing battle there between the Syrian regime and the rebels. This part of the city is largely deprived of food, water, medicine and most other basic supplies. Field hospitals, medical staff and all other forms of support have been bombarded for the past 4 years and it is unthinkable that so many civilians are still trying to survive in the midst of the destruction. Some days see dozens of people dying at the hands of aerial bombardment; just this week 150 lost their lives.

Dwindling Medical Personnel

Due to the Syrian regime’s deliberate targeting of Medical staff and facilities, Aleppo has seen many doctors die or flee. Dr Farida, who uses only her first name for security reasons, is the last remaining Obstetrics and Gynecology specialist in the eastern part of the city. Simply getting to work is a death trap, as Dr Farida usually has to walk the city’s destroyed streets. Whenever she does take a car, it’s headlights are off so as not to be a target for aerial bombing. As all her family have left the city, and there is only one other family member still residing in her apartment complex. She has to bring her 7 year-old daughter along with her to work.

Equal to 1000 Men

Dr Zaher Sahloul, the Syrian-American critical care specialist who heads up one of the largest organisations working within opposition areas of Syria summed up the value of Dr Farida with these words, “Her colleagues say that she’s equal to 1,000 men and when you hear that in Aleppo, from this conservative society speaking about women, that speaks volumes about her strength and leadership.”

Speaking to USA Today back in August, Dr Farida spoke of the dangers of working amongst all the bombing, “Every woman who comes to the hospital knows there’s a danger to her life. So they just give birth and go home, as they know our hospital is always being targeted.” Despite the extreme dangers within which she is living, she has no intention of abandoning her post as the last remaining specialist of her crucial field in eastern Aleppo, “I love my work, and I love my patients. And I love little babies”. In the midst of all the death she continues helping innocent women bringing new life and bundles of joy into this world. What a hero.

Written by Tamim Mobayed

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Tamim is a 28 year old Dublin born Syrian who grew up in Belfast. He is working in the Media and studying for a Ph.D. in Psychology, part-time. He's a big fan of Liverpool Football Club and cats.