For Immediate Release

February 28, 2017

Washington, D.C. – At least 30 dialysis patients in besieged East Ghouta are in dire need of access to lifesaving treatment. These patients, which range from 21 years old to 83 years old, are in various stages of kidney failure. This lack of access has deadly consequences for patients. Two dialysis patients, 52 year old Mahrous and 60 year old Fayzah, died this week due to the lack of dialysis treatment.  

Civilians in besieged East Ghouta continue to suffer from the brutal effects of siege. Coupled with escalating airstrikes, the encircled suburbs and their residents face a complete lack of access to lifesaving medication, supplies and adequate nutrition. 

The Department of Hemodialysis in the Specialized Hospital in Damascus Countryside is the only department that performs hemodialysis sessions in besieged East Ghouta. This facility was established in 2013, using equipment unearthed from under the ruins of Douma’s decimated public hospital. The Hemodialysis facility first ran out of supplies in 2015, and has lost five patients since then because of the siege.

This facility depends on the ability of the World Health Organization (WHO) to bring critical dialysis supplies to the area, yet no aid convoy has been allowed to enter Douma since October 2016. According to the Department, patients urgently need 250 sessions of hemodialysis per month. Due to a lack of supplies, medical personnel have not been able to provide these needed sessions for almost five months. To continue providing hemodialysis, the center requires critical supplies and equipment, including two dialysis machines to replace those that have repeatedly broken down, two oxygen generators, two heart monitors, a defibrillator, and two electric regulators. 

“Despite our relentless efforts to support healthcare in East Ghouta, dialysis patients continue to face an increasingly grim future while the international community is failing to protect them,” said Dr. Majd Isreb, SAMS Foundation Chair. “Lifesaving supplies and adequate nutrition must be allowed entry into besieged areas across the country. It is outrageous to keep witnessing these deaths that could have easily been prevented.”

It is essential that civilians and health workers in East Ghouta have access to lifesaving hemodialysis supplies, medication, and equipment. SAMS calls on the international community to allow the World Health Organization to deliver these crucial medical supplies to East Ghouta to ensure patients continue to receive dignified medical care. 

For media inquiries, please contact SAMS’s Media and Communications Manager, Lobna Hassairi, at