Ronan Farrow Daily   |  March 11, 2014

The collapse of Syria’s medical system

One of the most brutal realities of Syria’s war is the collapse of the country’s medical infrastructure. Save the Children’s Michael Klossen discusses the appearance of polio and other childhood illnesses in Syria’s warzone.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and this week marks the third anniversary of the bloody conflict in syria . save the children is making headlines with a new report pulling back the curtains on the angish of day to daylight in the cross fire . one of the most brutal reality is the collapse of the infrastructure, 60% of the hospitals have been damaged or destroyed since the start of the war and half of the doctors have fled the country. the rest are struggling to treat hundreds and thousands wounded in the fighting. the report finds syria 's health system is in such disarray we have heard reports of doctors using old clothes for bandages and patients opting to be knocked unconscious with metal bars because there are no anesthetics. save the children released a startling video and we gave you a sneak peek yesterday. now we want to show you in full, take a look.

>> happy birthday to you!

>> make a wish.

>> grammy.

>> have you done your homework?

>> here he comes.

>> have a nice day at school.

>> rebel position.

>> what's happening? [ sneezing ]

>> where are we? daddy!

>> happy birthday to you. make a wish, darling.

>> the most arresting thing about that ad, these are from actual case studies collected. tell us how to make sense of this and when you can do to get involved. michael closen, someone i've worked with over the years, we go back to afghanistan. good to see you. it's been a busy hour with a lot of breaking news so we don't have as long as i like on this. i did want to ask a few questions. this conflict in syria devastated the health care infrastructure, how many children died as a result?

>> 10,000 children that have died from bullets and bombs and then there's -- we don't have a precise count of how many died as a result of the health system collapsing. as your statistics show, half of the hospitals damaged or destroyed, those still standing, very few doctors left. what we're seeing is reemergence of childhood illnesses long irradiated. polio is back, and we've seen measles come back. there's a lot of suggestions that children are very much at risk for acute respiratory diseases and polio and measles. in a war zone it's difficult to collect precise statistics so i think the number that i've seen, there's a syrian american medical association that estimated about 200,000 people have died from preventible causes were the health system not collapsing. and i think certainly a significant portion of that are children.

>> and you mentioned polio, which was irradiated in 1995 . it has affected more than 80,000 children, my own brother is paraplegic from polio, i can speak personally about this disease. do you think it poses a threat to the national spread of polio?

>> there's very dire and 25 confirmed cases and up to 80,000 children affected. fortunately there ab ha move afoot, able to go door to door and provide the oral vaccine that children need. but to immunize a child against polio is not the one dosage, you need multiple dosages. so that is very difficult to accomplish in circumstances such as this. and i think we're already seeing reports of possible spread of polio outside of syria . i think i saw on your news a little while ago that there was a suspected case of polio in lebanon. it's children are very much in risk in syria . we need to see a much more organized immunization campaign, not only for polio but all of the other childhood illnesses that are appearing in the fighting zone. that also needs to be dealt with in the region as a whole.

>> that is work that save the children is involved in. you can go to their website to get involved, thank you for everything that your group stands for and thank you for joining us today, michael.

>> thank you, thanks for focusing on this important story.

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