CC BY 4.0 · Avicenna J Med 2024; 14(02): 115-122
DOI: 10.1055/s-0044-1786826
Original Article

Rheumatic Diseases Amidst Conflict in Northwest Syria: Unveiling Health Challenges and Implications

1   Department of Internal Medicine, Syrian Board of Medical Specialties, Idlib, Syria
Yousef Ibrahim
2   Department of Rheumatology, Syrian Board of Medical Specialties, Idlib, Syria
› Author Affiliations
Funding None.


Background The ongoing conflict in Syria has significantly affected the health care system, particularly in the realm of rheumatology. The purpose of this study is to assess the current state of rheumatic diseases in the northwestern region of Syria, where the health care infrastructure has been severely impacted.

Methods This was a retrospective study reviewing all patients with rheumatologic conditions seen in internal medicine clinics in northwest Syria between September 2019 and February 2022. Baseline demographic data and diagnoses were collected retrospectively, without any data duplication, from outpatient clinic records. The study also reviewed the availability of investigations and drugs in the northwestern region of Syria.

Results We analyzed data from 488 patients (average age: 37.4; 63% female) diagnosed with rheumatic diseases. The most prevalent condition was connective tissue disorders (25.6%), with osteoarthritis (12.1%) and rheumatoid arthritis (8.2%) following. The ongoing conflict has led to a significant shortage of rheumatologists, with only three serving a population of 5.5 million. Furthermore, the conflict has disrupted the provision and quality of rheumatology diagnostic tests, reducing patient accessibility. The dearth of medications and increased costs have compounded the complexity of health care for those with rheumatic diseases.

Conclusions This study highlights the urgent need for improved health care services and proposes solutions to address gaps in rheumatic care in northwest Syria.

Authors' Contributions

W.Z. conceptualized the study and data analysis and the first draft of the manuscript. Y.I. edited, commented on, and revised the manuscript and interpretations. All authors approved the final version.

Publication History

Article published online:
16 May 2024

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